After the departure from Montevideo of the last medical flight with passengers of the stranded Antarctic cruise Greg Mortimer, the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, sent a letter to Uruguay’s President, Luis Lacalle Pou, acknowledging the action of his government for its collaboration with Australian citizens.
On behalf of Australia, I am writing to extend my deep gratitude to the Uruguayan government and its people for the assistance received in bringing Australian passengers on the Ocean Atlantic and Aurora cruises Greg Mortimer home, the letter begins.
With most of the passengers testing positive for COVID-19, the cruise vessel were stranded at 20 kilometer from Montevideo for more than two weeks.
As the ship operated by Aurora Expeditions, most of the passengers were Australian and have returned home thanks to the humanitarian corridor provided by Uruguayan Exterior Ministry. Nevertheless, there are still two citizens from that country in a hospital in Montevideo due to their health conditions.
I understand that two Australians remain hospitalized in Uruguay, unable to travel home due to their state of health. I appreciate your Government's authorization to let their loved ones stay with them, and I am very grateful to the many Uruguayans who have cared for them. with such care. I also thank your government for facilitating urgent medical evacuations for these Australians and the other three hospitalized who have been able to safely return home, he says.
These passengers faced difficult and complicated circumstances, and many became ill while sailing in remote waters. Their loved ones are relieved and happy to have them back in their homes safe and sound, says Morrison.
I extend my sincere thanks to all Uruguayans involved in this complex logistical effort, be the emergency services workers, health professionals, airport staff or other officials. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, the Honorable Senator Marise Payne, she transmitted to me the close collaboration he maintained with his counterpart, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Mr. Ernesto Talvi, and his important support in this matter, says the Prime Minister.
Due to the difficult times that all countries face in the fight against COVID-19, it is encouraging to see these strong gestures of cooperation and good will between our countries. Uruguay's compassionate attitude and prompt and efficient assistance have been invaluable to help Australia bring its citizens home, the letter concludes.