Coronavirus WA: Crew on BBC California ship at Fremantle Port have Delta COVID-19 strain, WA Health confirms

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Peter LawThe West Australian
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BBC California in Fremantle Port.
Camera IconBBC California in Fremantle Port. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian

A cargo ship berthed at Fremantle Port is riddled with the fast-spreading Delta variant of COVID-19, genomic sequencing has confirmed.

The BBC California, which departed Egypt last month before stopping in Indonesia on its way to WA, has eight active cases onboard.

Two previous cases from the ship are no longer active. There’s another case in hotel quarantine.

WA Health said all infections from the BBC California had been confirmed as the Delta strain.

It’s the same variant which has plunged Sydney into an extended lockdown, with another 141 new cases announced on Sunday.

Eight people have died in the latest Sydney outbreak.

Crew were tested shortly after arriving at Fremantle Port.
Camera IconCrew were tested shortly after arriving at Fremantle Port. Credit: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

Premier Mark McGowan on Friday said the issue of ship crew contracting COVID-19 in Indonesia was raised at National Cabinet.

“(Australia’s) transport ministers are going to work on that, in particular in contact with the major shipping companies,” he said.

“Part of the problem is crew members arrive in Indonesia on board ships, they get off, they might go to shops or bars or wherever it might be, and they pick up the virus.

“That is the problem, so the shipping companies need to put effort into keeping their crews on board when they're in Indonesian ports.”

So far, 118 cases of variant strains have been detected in WA, including 49 of the Delta variant.

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