Seven crew members on board a ship anchored off Western Australia's northwest coast have tested positive to COVID-19.
The cases follow those of two men taken off the bulk carrier on Friday, which has been anchored nine nautical miles off Port Hedland since September 16.
In total, 20 Filipino nationals and the captain were on board the Patricia Oldendorff and it is expected more may yet test positive.
The seven new cases have to remain on board as they are part of a skeleton crew of nine to keep it operational.
WA Health Minister Roger Cook said on Saturday their symptoms were minor or non-existent and would be monitored.
The evacuated crew members, including the two positive cases identified on Friday, are in hotel quarantine in Port Hedland.
Mr Cook said "every safety measure is being put in place" so the local community should not be concerned.
"These crew do not currently need medical treatment but should it be required, every precaution is in place to protect healthcare workers and members of the public," he said.
But, according to 9News, Mr Cook added: “If it gets out into the community it will create a disaster, worse than what we've seen in Melbourne.”
Private security guards are being used in hotel quarantine in Port Hedland, as in Perth, which prompted questions in light of the failures of private security in Victoria.
Mr Cook told reporters there was a "world of difference" between WA and Victoria.
"All our security guards are trained in infection control otherwise they cannot be on site," he said.
"We have our own people on the sites making sure that they can supervise the security guards."
It is expected the two skeleton crew who have tested negative for the virus may well contract it in due course or have already had it, so serology tests are being done.
Arrangements are being made for a replacement skeleton crew to be available to allow for a deep clean of the ship.
A rapid response team is being led by experienced doctor Tudor Codreanu, who also managed COVID-19 outbreaks on board the Artania cruise liner and Al-Kuwait livestock ship earlier this year.
The ship left the Philippines on September 5 with a fresh crew, indicating the virus came from that country, Mr Cook said.
The seven new cases have not been attributed to WA's Saturday case-count but will be included in Sunday's numbers.
One case was recorded in WA on Saturday, an Australian traveller in hotel quarantine.
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