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AFP
March 30, 2020

Passengers to leave Australia after days stuck on cruise ship

World

AFP
March 30, 2020

PERTH, Australia: Hundreds of cruise ship passengers were due to board flights for Germany on Sunday, after spending days stranded at sea off the West Australian coast in a stand-off with authorities.

The Artania docked in the port city of Fremantle on Friday after an earlier ban was reversed amid a spike in COVID-19 cases onboard that saw three passengers taken onshore to intensive care wards.

A spokeswoman for Germany's Condor Airlines told AFP about 800 people would board four planes in the Western Australian capital, Perth, on Sunday evening bound for Frankfurt. "We are flying them back home. These flights will be operated via Phuket in Thailand," she said.

An Australian Border Force official told AFP the passengers -- mostly German citizens, but also some French and Swiss nationals -- were due to disembark the Artania Sunday afternoon and would be transported directly to the airport. They were expected to undergo health checks before being allowed to catch the charter flights.