Doctor in eye of storm
A Bunbury doctor is leading the WA branch of the Australian Medical Assistance Team in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic in Perth.
Tudor Codreanu was involved in the management of the Vasco da Gama and Artania cruise ships, which docked in Fremantle in late March. The Artania carried dozens of coronavirus-stricken passengers and crew.
Dr Codreanu has two masters degrees and a PhD in Disaster Medicine. He taught at the Academy for Emergency Management and Disaster Medicine in Milan and Brussels before moving to Bunbury.
“I had been asked by AUSMAT to lead the repatriation of Australian and New Zealand citizens that were on board the Diamond Princess in Yokohama in Japan and then to lead their two-week quarantine in Darwin,” he said.
Those two weeks proved critical in allowing Australia to ramp up its preparation for the COVID-19 response.
“When I returned to WA, the COVID response in the country had amplified and we had a number of vessels within WA waters which required medical assistance. One of them was the Artania,” he said.
“Before the deployment to Japan, I came back to Australia from four months long service leave in South America.
“On the Friday morning I was on a motorbike in Patagonia, started work on the Monday and that afternoon I was on an aircraft bound for Japan.
“When I came back, I went to work again at eight o’clock, at 10 o’clock the phone rang again and I was told I needed to be in Perth by four o’clock.”
The work on the Artania was expected to take three days, but nearly five weeks later, Dr Codreanu is still in Perth.
“It is a highly volatile, fluid and evolving situation and there is still a lot of our Australian and New Zealand citizens around the world seeking repatriation.
“The situation is changing not every hour, but every five minutes.”
Dr Codreanu is one of very few people to have boarded the Artania since it docked.
He spoke highly of his dealings with everyone involved with the cruise ship.
“The one-word I would use to characterise our dealings with the Artania command, passengers and crew is professionalism.
“That gave us the confidence that what we needed to do, which had never been done before, could be done.
“There was no doom and gloom, there was no loss of hope, it was a case of ‘yes we can do it, yes there is a plan’.”
The work of the medical team has prepared WA to tackle the virus in the coming months, he said. “This pandemic is not going to stop just because this vessel has left WA, what we have done is bought time to prepare better and to have plans for whatever scenario is going to develop.”
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