COVID-19: No new cases, but authorities monitoring ship MV Ballard carrying positive cases bound for Bunbury

Headshot of Jackson Barrett
Jackson BarrettSouth Western Times
The MV Ballard oil carrier is carrying eight COVID-positive passengers on its way to Bunbury.
Camera IconThe MV Ballard oil carrier is carrying eight COVID-positive passengers on its way to Bunbury. Credit: Andy Ru

Bunbury has recorded no new COVID cases linked to the cluster at a Kemerton lithium plant for the first time since Sunday, but a ship bound for the city’s port is carrying passengers who have tested positive.

It comes amid nine new cases, linked to sub-clusters in Willagee, Coolbellup and two Perth night clubs, while two other cases remain under investigation.

It means the total number of cases recorded in Bunbury this week remains at 19 — all linked to Albemarle’s lithium hydroxide plant.

The ship, the MV Ballard, has made contact with WA Health and is carrying passengers who have returned positive rapid antigen tests.

“The MV Ballard has a crew of 23, eight of who are reporting positive RAT tests and are now isolating in their cabins,” Premier Mark McGowan said.

“WA Health and authorities will continue to monitor this ship and its crew from afar.

“This is in addition to the two other ships which are being monitored.”

The oil carrier, which has come from Manila, could be set to dock at Bunbury port as soon as January 31.

Premier Mark McGowan speaks to the media in Rockingham today.
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan speaks to the media in Rockingham today. Credit: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

Mr McGowan once again urged Bunbury residents to get tested as the region faces the reality of higher Omicron case numbers.

“Anyone in the Perth, Peel or South West region — particularly the Greater Bunbury region — experiencing any symptoms should get tested immediately and isolate until they receive a negative result,” he said.

New exposure sites are likely to be added across the State, with several of the nine fresh cases having been infectious in the community.

On Thursday, exposure sites were added in Busselton, Capel and Australind, in addition to three sites in the heart of the Bunbury CBD.

The West Busselton Pharmacy became the city’s first location to be listed and anyone who visited between 3.30pm and 3.45pm on Saturday, January 22 are being asked to monitor for symptoms.

The Pharmacy is part of the West Busselton Shopping Centre, which also includes a travel agency, a lunch bar and a popular IGA.

The West Busselton Pharmacy has been added as an exposure site.
Camera IconThe West Busselton Pharmacy has been added as an exposure site. Credit: Google Maps

The same directions apply to anyone who visited the Shell Coles Express in Vasse on Monday, January 24 between 8.30am and 8.45am, La Lah Cafe in Dunsborough on Monday between 11.00am and 12.30pm or Simmo’s Ice Creamery on Commonage Road between 4.30pm and 5pm on the same day.

In Capel, Hardware and Farm Supplies at 93 Capel Drive has been added as an exposure site between 1pm and 1.15pm on Saturday, January 22.

All 39 exposure sites in the South West can be viewed on the Healthy WA website.

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