A mercy flight carrying 112 Australian and New Zealand cruise ship passengers, as many as 70 who might have coronavirus, has landed in Melbourne from Uruguay.
The travellers had been stranded on the luxury Antarctic cruise ship, the Greg Mortimer, for two weeks.
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It’s thought around half of all passengers and crew on the ship have been infected.
The ship holds only 126 passengers and has 70 cabins.
Passengers had been stranded for weeks before being allowed to dock.
The cruise only left on March 16,
They have been seen leaving the plane and walking across the Tarmac.
A fleet of waiting ambulances was only needed for one passenger, who was taken to hospital as a non-emergency.
New Zealanders are being flown home on another flight.
Voyages on the ship cost around $10,000.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said it was a complex task getting people home from overseas.
“There is a real challenge when you are talking about moving this many people, such a long journey, many of whom are positive with the virus, but their right to return to their home is paramount, and we simply were not going to allow them to be left on the other side of the world without, possibly, the care and attention that they needed,” he said.
“They will now be getting care, they will be in a hotel for 14 days until such time as they can travel on, for those who are not Victorians.”
Mr Andrews added the case was very different from the Ruby Princess, as these passengers were tested a week ago plus have not been allowed out into the community.
More follow ups will be done with passengers once they are at hotels.
Victoria’s total recorded COVID-19 cases stands at 1265, with 14 deaths.
The number of new cases on Saturday had risen by 24, compared to a rise of 13 the day before.
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