'We feel for those with no window.' What it's like on the cruise ship quarantined by coronavirus, & more in News in 5.

– With AAP.

1. ‘We feel for those with no window.’ What it’s like on the cruise ship quarantined by coronavirus.

Two Australians stuck on a cruise ship following a coronavirus outbreak say they are going “stir crazy”.

Queenslanders Coralie and Paul Williamson are two of thousands currently in mandatory quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, docked at Yokohama in Japan.

Twenty people – including two Australians – on the ship have already been confirmed as having coronavirus, as the rest of the 3700 passengers and crew wait to see if symptoms develop.

Speaking to the ABC, the couple described what it was like on board. They said they were lucky to have a room with a balcony and fresh air, while others were stuck in rooms with no windows.

Broadcasts are made every few hours, but only in English and Japanese, so passengers who don’t speak either language have been left in the dark about what is happening.

They are unable to interact with other passengers, meaning their only human contact is with each other and the staff members who delivered food to their rooms.

Food delivery is irregular, though, with breakfast arriving about 10am and dinner after 9pm.

“You can sometimes hear when food is getting delivered that people are getting upset about not having medication and about not getting information,” Coralie said.

They had not had fresh food since January 20, but a supply of food was expected to be delivered from Japan on Thursday.


Keeping themselves occupied is taking a bit of creativity.

“We’ve both got Fitbits so we’re trying to get our steps going and doing some stretches and those sorts of physical things, as well as trying to come up with a bit of a routine [for] our entertainment,” Paul said.

The couple were rationing their movie stash and had decided to document their experience in lockdown.

They also planned to go on a “long walk on the beach” once they return home to the Sunshine Coast.

British man David Abel has been documenting his experiences on Facebook, and on Thursday evening AEDT said passengers with inside cabins were being allowed to walk on the deck for 1.5 hours under supervision of Quarantine officers.

“They must stay 1 metre apart from one another and not make contact or congregate in groups,” he wrote.

Another Queensland couple, Paul and Jacqui Fidrmuc, told AAP they were learning more about the situation from the media than they were from the cruise company.

They said their medical testing – which they passed – took only one minute and now it’s just a matter of waiting for the quarantine period to pass.

They were concerned about the disease, but have an attitude that “you just have to be lighthearted about the whole situation”.

Authorities say the Diamond Princess outbreak can be traced to an 80-year-old Hong Kong man who disembarked the ship last month.


Passengers are now forced to stay in their rooms for two weeks.

“We have all of the trimmings of a nice hotel room. We feel for those in interior rooms with no window,” Paul Fidrmuc said.

Along with two Australians, others confirmed to have the disease are from Japan, Taiwan, the USA, Canada and New Zealand.

2. A joint funeral will be held for the Sydney kids killed in the Oatlands car crash.

A joint funeral will be held for the Abdallah children killed by an alleged drink-driver as they went to get ice cream in Sydney’s west.


Abdallah siblings Sienna, 8, Angelina, 12, and Antony, 13, died at the scene in Oatlands on Saturday alongside their 11-year-old cousin Veronique Sakr.

The funeral for the Abdallah siblings will be held at the Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral in Harris Park on Monday morning.

Hundreds of people have visited the crash site since the tragedy to pay their respects and lay flowers.

Samuel William Davidson, 29, was allegedly three times the legal blood alcohol limit when he drove into the children.

He’s been charged with 20 offences including four counts of manslaughter and is due to next appear in court in April.

3. The top five myths about coronavirus have been dispelled by NSW Health.


The top five myths about coronavirus have been dispelled by NSW Health which says garlic and sesame oil won’t stop people contracting the virus and it can’t be caught from imported food or domestic pets.

NSW Health on Thursday urged the public to be wary of incorrect and alarmist social media posts regarding the spread and severity of the disease.

“I ask the public to be aware of the facts about the novel coronavirus and take a moment to investigate unverified claims before they share them with others,” chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said in a statement.

A common myth about the virus is that people should avoid Chinatown and shopping centres or suburbs with high Chinese-Australian populations.

“While four cases have been diagnosed in NSW to date, patients have been isolated until no longer infectious and there is no evidence that community transmission is occurring,” the state’s health department said in a statement.

It is also not true that people can catch the coronavirus from imported packaged food.


“The novel coronavirus does not appear to last very long on surfaces … therefore imported products do not pose a risk of transmission,” NSW Health said.

Any suggestion that garlic and sesame oil will stop people contracting coronavirus is also “false”.

Instead, people should practice good hygiene, as with any respiratory infection, the health department advises.

People should cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, always clean their hands thoroughly and avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.

NSW Health confirmed the World Health Organisation had debunked another myth – that the virus had mutated into a more lethal strain.

Any suggestion that coronavirus could be caught from pets is also false.

“While the 2019-nCoV may have come from animals, domestic pets do not pose a risk of transmission in Australia,” NSW Health said.

Dr Chant says the novel coronavirus “appears to be less severe than SARS or MERS and many with the disease may have a mild illness”.

The four confirmed cases of coronavirus in NSW were isolated after diagnosis and they do not pose an ongoing threat.

So far the virus has infected 28,000 people globally and there have been 563 confirmed deaths, with the vast majority of infections and deaths in China.

4. Call for koala protection after dozens were killed in Victoria.


Koalas would be protected by federal law under changes proposed after dozens were killed on private land in Victoria.

At least 40 animals reportedly died and another 80 are in the care of authorities after timber harvesting on private land at Cape Bridgewater, near Portland in the state’s southwest.

But Labor environment spokeswoman Terri Butler said there were no protections for the Victorian koala population because the mammal wasn’t listed as a vulnerable species.


Federal protection and biodiversity laws are currently under review, and the deadline for submissions has been extended to April and after the recent devastating bushfires on Austalia’s east coast that killed millions of animals.

Ms Butler said existing penalties for animal deaths of this nature were “simply not tough enough”.

“National icons like the koala need federal protection, including in instances where their status is not considered to be vulnerable, based on historical data,” she said.

“Labor is calling on the federal government to immediately work with the states to implement tougher standards and penalties for instances of this nature, at state and federal level, as a matter of urgency.”

In the Victorian case, it’s believed vegetation was removed by contractors before the owner undertook further clearing.

Environmental group Friends of the Earth previously claimed there had been reports of hundreds of starving koalas during a logging harvest completed in late December 2019.

The group said this week that people had seen dead koalas being bulldozed into slash piles – mounds of debris.

An investigation is underway by the conservation regulator and environment department and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says anyone found to have done the wrong thing will face a “very stern penalty”.

Ms Butler said more data was needed to determine threats to Australian species, particularly following the bushfire crisis.


“More than one billion animals have died during the bushfire crisis,” she said.

“Labor has called for a comprehensive ecological audit in response.”

5. Bob Hawke’s daughter’s claim has been referred to mediation.

Bob Hawke’s daughter’s legal claim on the former prime minister’s estate has been referred to mediation to be conducted by a former South Australian judge.


In an affidavit as part of a $4 million legal claim on Mr Hawke’s estate, Rosslyn Dillon alleges she was sexually assaulted by the late Victorian Labor MLC Bill Landeryou in the 1980s.

The case came before the Family Provisions List in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday for directions when Justice Philip Hallen ordered the matter to go to private mediation.

He also agreed Mr Hawke’s widow, Blanche d’Alpuget, be listed as another defendant after he was told she holds the proceeds of the sale of a joint tenancy.

Former Supreme Court judge John Sulan QC will conduct the mediation which is to take place at the end of March.

If the case is resolved, the parties are to get the documents to Justice Hallen by April 6 and he adjourned it to April 14.

The New Daily has reported that Ms Dillon – Mr Hawke’s youngest daughter with his first wife Hazel – claims when she told the aspiring prime minister of the sex allegations in the 1980s he told her “You can’t go to the police”.

“You can’t. I can’t have any controversies right now. I am sorry but I am challenging for the leadership of the Labor Party,” she says in the affidavit lodged in the NSW Supreme Court.

Mr Hawke led Labor to victory in the federal election in March 1983, a month after winning the party’s leadership. He died in May 2019.

Feature images: Facebook/Coralie Williamson and David Abel.