A further two COVID-19 cases were detected in Queensland on Christmas Day – both in hotel quarantine.
The patients were two men, one aged in his 30s and the other in his 40s.
The younger man was from the Lady E superyacht, which came from the Maldives. The older man was a separate international arrival who tested positive in hotel quarantine in Brisbane.
The Lady E docked in Cairns on Monday after a month in the Maldives, with authorities trying to trace the source of the infection on the 75-metre vessel, which was carrying six crew and 14 guests.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath called out the group for their lack of co-operation with police after a 20-year-old female crew member tested positive on Thursday. The Lady E’s captain said they had done nothing wrong and that two people on board had previously been cleared of the virus.
“We are fully co-operating with the authorities and followed all protocols before docking in Cairns and since arrival,” Captain James Kennedy said in a statement issued through public relations firm Teneo on Thursday night.
“Our team have quarantined, undertaken all necessary COVID-19 tests, and stand ready to provide whatever details the authorities deem necessary. We remain ready to comply in full.”
The positive test in Cairns sparked efforts from police and Queensland Health to determine where the luxury vessel had been and how the case may have been contracted.
Lady E charters were advertised in Australia from the end of January and in New Zealand in February and March in time for the America’s Cup. The weekly hire cost starts at an estimated $783,000.
The vessel underwent a year-long refit in the United Kingdom and returned to sea in September with a six-metre deck extension making way for a wellness centre, heated pool and beauty salon.
After the refit, the vessel made its way to the Maldives’ capital, Male, via port stops in Gibraltar and Egypt, arriving on November 6 for a month-long stay, marine traffic data shows.
A total of 779 new cases have been reported in the Indian Ocean republic in the past month, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Toby Crockford is a breaking news reporter at the Brisbane Times
Matt Dennien is a reporter with Brisbane Times.