About 800 people stranded on a cruise ship off the coast of Western Australia will be evacuated to Germany within days.
The Australian government and the German embassy confirmed a charter flight will take all guests aboard the German-owned Artania vessel to Frankfurt this weekend.
“By the end of the weekend, nearly all of them will be evacuated on three planes back to Germany,” Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told Sky News on Friday.
Two men were evacuated off the Artania on Thursday and taken to Fiona Stanley Hospital but were not related to the virus, however five guests and two crew have tested positive and showing mild symptoms.
Senator Cormann indicated they would receive medical care in Australia.
“Some appropriate arrangements will be put in place locally, again, in close coordination and consultation between the federal and state governments,” he said.
Meanwhile, a cruise ship passenger in his 70s has died of COVID-19 in Western Australia, taking the national coronavirus toll to 13.
It is the second death in WA from the virus, where the total number of confirmed cases has risen to 231 after 26 new cases were announced on Thursday.
Health Minister Roger Cook confirmed 26 new cases in WA, including a seven-year-old child, who is self-isolating, and four cases from cruise ships including the Ruby Princess, Sun Princess and Voyager of the Seas.
One-quarter of the state’s total cases had been on a cruise.
Mr Cook said 23 cases had recovered.
He also announced allowing pharmacists to write prescriptions for one month’s worth of medication.
Also anchored off WA and not allowed to dock is the cruise ship Magnifica, which has no Australians on board nor has any reported cases of the virus.
Another cruise ship, the Vasco da Gama, which was scheduled to arrive in Fremantle today, has been told to hold off until Monday while Rottnest Island is prepared as a 14-day quarantine zone for about 200 West Australians.