The plane with 112 passengers, including 96 Australians, was loaded immediately after arrival by medical personnel in a combination of hazardous materials. Thirteen of the 16 New Zealanders were transferred to a return charter flight.
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Greg Mortimer operator Aurora Expeditions confirmed this week that 128 of the 217 passengers tested positive for the coronavirus. Uruguayan Foreign Minister Ernesto Talvi said two Australian passengers were still in intensive care in a hospital in Montevideo.
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The ship was stranded in Uruguay for more than two weeks after leaving Argentina on March 15 for a 16-day return trip to Antarctica.
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“Anyone who has to go to the hospital will go to the hospital and the remaining passengers will be quarantined at the hotels,” said Dr. Adalal, Deputy Chief of State of Victoria, Dr. Annaliese van Diemen.
Returning New Zealanders will also be quarantined in hotels.
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“As a large proportion of Greg Mortimer’s passengers tested positive for COVID-19, all passengers are treated as if they were positive for COVID as a precaution,” said a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Meanwhile, the state of South Australia reported the death on Sunday at the Adelaide hospital of a 74-year-old man who contracted coronavirus on board the cruise ship Ruby Princess.
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More than a dozen Ruby Princess passengers died from the virus and more than 500 people were infected.
The national death toll in Australia is 57.
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