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‘He made us sound like we were a bunch of bio-terrorists’

The veterinary surgeon on board the sheep ship the Al Kuwait says there was no need to remove COVID infected crew and put them into hotel isolation saying they could have sailed with the ship because no-one was particularly sick.

After the live export vessel docked in Fremantle on Friday, most of the crew were removed from the ship and put into hotel isolation in Perth, 13 of whom have since tested positive to COVID-19.

Dr Herbert Rebhan was on board the ship and had been treating crew members who had shown signs of mild illness but he says their symptoms were being successfully mitigated with antibiotics – which would have had no effect on COVID-19.

Speaking with Gareth Parker on Mornings, Dr Rebhan has questioned why the WA state government intervened at all saying the crew were not in distress or in need of medical assistance. He says he was stunned by the language of Premier Mark McGowan as he described the arrival of the ship in Fremantle.

“Your Premier, talks about how we knowingly berthed at Fremantle Port with coronavirus, he made us sound like we were a bunch of bio-terrorists, he made us sound like we are intentionally coming in to hurt the Western Australian people and spread coronavirus,” he said.

“That I find offensive and extremely irresponsible for him to use the situation to make some political hay.

“Nobody was getting off.

“The illnesses were actually quite minor and people were improving with the non steroidal anti-inflammatory medical which was either panadol or ibuprofen in combination with the antibiotics.

“There wasn’t really any concern that we needed to seek any kind of hospitalisation with anybody and there was nobody in any kind of respiratory distress.

“The coronavirus was there, but the men were not sick from the coronavirus.”

(Pic: WAtoday/Cameron Myles)

To listen to Gareth’s full interview with Dr Herbert Rebhan click play below