Nineteen cargo ship crew members infected off Queensland

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Nineteen crew members onboard a cargo ship off Queensland are infected with Covid-19 as the state’s top doctor reveals anxiety over the sheer number of virus “incursions” threatening to cause a crisis.

The bulk carrier entered the Torres Strait from the Philippines on Monday and alerted authorities to a majority of crew on board being sick, chief health officer Jeannette Young said.

Queensland Health provided nurses to test those on the ship with 19 of the 21 crew members returning positive tests on Tuesday night.

The ship is currently heading towards Weipa in the state’s far north where six of the crew members will be transported to Brisbane for treatment.

The remaining staff will stay on the boat for maintenance purposes.

Dr Young said her team is working with Maritime Safety Queensland “to organise the best possible response to keep the crew on this ship safe, to keep the ship safe and to keep the people of Queensland safe”.

Queensland also recorded one new local infection on Wednesday, a man who had left hotel quarantine on July 17 after arriving from the Philippines and was infectious in the community for four days.

He had been staying at a backpackers hostel on Roma Street before becoming infectious on July 22.

“This is the thirteenth incursion of the virus into the community in Queensland over the last six weeks,” Dr Young told reporters on Wednesday morning.

“It is becoming increasingly concerning we are having these repeated incursions of the virus into Queensland so thank you very much to those more than 17,000 people who came out and got tested yesterday. This is what we must continue to do going forward.”

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