Department of Defence reported 23 positive COVID-19 cases on board HMAS Adelaide on Tuesday, while the ship was in transit to Tonga with humanitarian supplies after the recent volcano irruption.
CAPTION: Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief stores are prepared for offloading as HMAS Adelaide sails into Tonga during Operation Tonga Assist 22. Photo by Corporal Robert Whitmore.
The positive COVID cases and an unknown number of their close contacts on HMAS Adelaide are in isolation and being managed in accordance with COVID-safe protocols.
A Defence spokesperson said HMAS Adelaide had excellent medical facilities on board, including COVID testing capabilities and a 40-bed hospital with operating theatres and a critical-care ward.
“Personnel are asymptomatic or displaying mild symptoms – a benefit of all crew being fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” the spokesperson said.
“HMAS Adelaide will continue her mission to support the Tongan relief efforts, carrying humanitarian and medical supplies, engineering equipment and helicopters to support logistics and distribution.
“Defence recognises the COVID-free status of Tonga, and will ensure the humanitarian supplies and equipment on board are delivered in a COVID-safe manner.
“The ADF has significant experience conducting COVID-19 safe regional responses, including in Fiji following Tropical Cyclone Yasa, which will help contribute to the success and safety of this response.”
HMAS Adelaide arrived off the coast of Tonga on Wednesday 26 January 2022 and began unloading cargo with no person-to-person contact between the ship and wharf personnel.