Infected bulk vessel remains off WA coast

·3-min read

A coronavirus-infected ship crewman continues to recover in a Perth hospital as Western Australia recorded no new local cases.

WA Health on Tuesday said the man in his 50s remained in a stable condition in isolation at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

The MV Emerald Indah was on Sunday forced to dock in Geraldton, 420km north of Perth, after the man became ill and "deteriorated quickly", with bad weather preventing a helicopter evacuation.

He was taken to Geraldton Hospital and tested positive for coronavirus before being airlifted to Perth.

The MV Emerald Indah had been bound for the Kwinana Grain Terminal, south of Perth, after recently being in Indonesia.

A state government spokesperson reiterated Premier Mark McGowan's "strong preference" that the ship leave West Australian waters as soon as possible.

"The MV Emerald Indah is now out at sea off the coast of Kwinana and the state government authorities in conjunction with federal authorities continue to manage the situation," they said.

"The priority is to return the ship to its port of origin so it can be deep cleaned and allow for a crew changeover. This is important for the health and safety of the crew and to ensure there is no risk to Western Australians."

The police commissioner in his role as the state emergency coordinator has powers to prevent the vessel from entering WA waters and prevent crew from entry, the spokesperson said.

"This is being worked on with the federal bodies to ensure the shipping agent complies with its requirements to get the ship away safely."

Mr McGowan has stressed there is no health risk to the Geraldton community.

He said staff who treated the man at the local hospital had been fully vaccinated and wore protective equipment.

The MV Emerald Indah is registered as flying under a Singaporean flag. None of the other 21 crew members are reported as being unwell.

WA reported no new local cases on Tuesday but two infections were confirmed in hotel quarantine: a man in his 30s and a young boy travelling with family.

It comes as restrictions for Perth and the Peel region were further eased overnight.

Face masks are no longer required outdoors where physical distancing is possible and hospitality venues have returned to a two-square-metre capacity and a limit of 150 patrons.

Major venues including Optus Stadium and RAC Arena can operate at 50 per cent capacity.

These restrictions are due to expire on Monday when Perth and Peel are slated to return to pre-lockdown life with no limits on gatherings.

Meanwhile, a Tasmanian man who flew to Perth after transiting through Sydney on Thursday and went on the run from hotel quarantine after being refused entry has been found more than 1000km away in the state's northwest.

Police had been searching for Kyle Stephens since Sunday after he was told to get the next available flight out.

The 32-year-old was picked up around 2pm on Monday travelling in a vehicle with another man in Nanutarra, in the Pilbara region.

He's been charged with failing to comply with quarantine and travel directions and was due to appear in Karratha Magistrates Court on Tuesday after being refused bail.

It will be alleged that when police contacted him asking where he was, he falsely stated he had left WA and was in Queensland.

The other man, 28, has also been charged in relation to the incident.

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