PM's warning about overreacting to new coronavirus outbreak

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has cautioned the public against overreacting to a coronavirus outbreak on a live export ship in Western Australia where six crew members have tested positive.

There are concerns after quarantine officers and port workers boarded the vessel docked in Fremantle without knowing the crew were infected.

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Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan has accused the federal government of allowing the ship to berth despite health concerns on board.

Mr Morrison attempted to cut through the crossfire by arguing the situation was under control.

“We’ve got the systems in place and they can be managed and they can be protected,” Mr Morrison told Sky News on Wednesday.

Scott Morrison said the contaminated live stock vessel Al Kuwait (pictured right) can be managed.
"We’ve got the systems in place and they can be managed, and they can be protected," Scott Morrison said. Source: AAP

He also launched a pre-emptive strike against calls to shut down the live export industry during the global pandemic.

"But if we're going to stop exporting our agricultural products or our resources then that is going to hurt our economy drastically, so I would caution people from getting too far ahead of themselves on this."

Premier Mark McGowan said the remaining 42 crew members were "currently well" and would remain onboard the ship to be monitored and undergo health checks.

There are fears more cases will be confirmed in the coming days.

Mr McGowan is angry the federal Department of Agriculture allowed the Al Kuwait to berth, given the ship had lodged a pre-arrival report saying three crew members were sick.

He said it was lucky no one got off the ship, but unfortunate others had boarded the vessel.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the situation was handled correctly.

"I have asked my department to go back and double check and triple check to make sure that every protocol has been adhered to," Mr Littleproud said.

"But on the face of it, we believe that every protocol was in line with the COVID protocols that have been put in place."

The union representing crew members said everybody on board the ship should be tested for coronavirus.

with AAP

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