"Are you sorry?" Karl Stefanovic questions the NSW Premier over the Ruby Princess disaster.

On Wednesday night’s episode of 7.30, a man whose wife died of COVID-19, after travelling on the Ruby Princess cruise ship, vowed to seek justice for her death.

“I’m angry,” Graeme Lake, who lost his wife Karla, told the program.

“The cruise has ruined us. It broke me, it’s broken the kids, the grandkids,” he continued.

“She didn’t deserve it. She went on the cruise for her birthday so it’s really devastating. Even now I’m still struggling.”

Watch: Mamamia’s Claire Murphy breaks down your most asked questions about COVID-19. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

Graeme and Karla Lake are just some of the human faces behind the Ruby Princess cruise ship disaster.

At the time of publishing, 18 passengers from the ship have died and hundreds of confirmed cases of coronavirus have been linked to the Ruby Princess.

In fact, the cruise ship, which set sail on March 8 just hours after sick passengers disembarked, is currently responsible for more than 10 per cent of all coronavirus cases in Australia.

As a result, the cruise ship is currently at the centre of a criminal investigation. But so far, state and federal government bodies and the cruise liner have pinballed the blame, with no one taking responsibility for the handling of the disaster.

When New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian appeared on the Today show on Thursday morning, Karl Stefanovic took the opportunity to grill the Premier about the state government’s handling of the cruise ship fiasco.

During the interview, Stefanovic asked Berejiklian if she had “any regrets” about the infamous incident.

“Not at this stage. But at the end of the day, Karl, this is the biggest issue I think any of us will face in our lives,” the NSW Premier responded.

“Who would have thought that at the beginning of the year that we would be in the middle of a pandemic.”

After thanking Berejiklian on being a “stand-up leader” amid the pandemic, Stefanovic went on to ask the Premier whether she was “sorry for what happened” on the cruise ship.

“This is why, for me, I want some straight talking from you about the Ruby Princess. I want you to say, yes, we were responsible. Yes, we stuffed it up. Yes, it caused a great deal of uncertainty. Yes, it caused a great deal of anxiousness and pain out there in the community,” the Today co-host said.


“Are you sorry for what happened?”

“Of course,” the Premier responded.

“I am sorry for every person in Australia who has died because of this virus. Of course. I am human. You’re human. Everybody is sorry for what has happened. But we also want to make sure we’re able to deal with the facts,” she continued.

Stefanovic, who has previously been outspoken about the need to close schools, also questioned the NSW Premier about whether it’s safe for children in NSW to return to school.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison asked the nation’s teachers to keep classrooms open.

“We cannot allow a situation where parents are forced to choose between putting food on the table through their employment, to support their kids and their kids’ education,” he said on social media.

“We will lose many things in the course of fighting this virus. One thing that I know teachers are united on, with their parents, is we do not want one of those things to be the loss of a child’s education, giving up a whole year of their learning.”

Listen to the latest episode of Mamamia’s daily news podcast, The Quicky, below. Post continues after podcast.

Speaking to the NSW Premier, Stefanovic asked: “I think this is a pretty simple question and I think it’s a yes or no answer. Are kids safe going back to school or not?”

“The kids are absolutely safe. Schools are safe environments. That’s what the experts have said from day one. What we need to consider in NSW at the time is pick-ups, drop-offs and teachers,” the Premier responded.

“Health advice we have received in more recent times says that teacher-to-teacher transfer and adults transferring it to each other is a greater risk than the kids.”

Stefanovic responded: “This is me being a concerned parent, not just a journalist. We have seen these heartbreaking stories of kids dying without anyone around them overseas. We don’t know how this virus will manifest itself. No matter what the Prime Minister says, no-one wants to get this virus”.

Feature Image: Channel Nine.

For more on COVID-19:

To protect yourself and the community from COVID-19, keep at least 1.5 metres away from other people, regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your face.

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.

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