At least one in 10 crew members who remain on the troubled Ruby Princess cruise ship have now tested positive for COVID-19.
Embroiled in a homicide investigation and the source of Australia's largest outbreak of coronavirus, more than 1000 crew members from 50 countries remain on board the ship, which has been berthed at Port Kembla since last week.
But on Tuesday, a little bit of hope and compassion - in the form of well-loved Aussie snacks - arrived to lift their spirits, thanks to a generous donation of care packages from the Illawarra community.
Port Kembla Mission to Seafarers Chaplain John Kewa, who helped to deliver 1200 packages full of chips, fruit, Tim Tams, Vegemite and other food and personal supplies, said the crew were buoyed by the show of support and human connection in such a difficult time.
"It's a message of empathy and compassion from the community," he said, noting crew members had sent messages via social media to express their gratitude.
"They have been caught in a crossfire of negativity... but they these are sons, daughters, parents and even grandparents so as a community of people we have a duty of care to them."
According to the latest NSW Health information 139 crew members have now tested positive to COVID-19: 69 who remain on board with mild symptoms and a further 59 who no longer have symptoms but have tested positive. In addition, 11 sick crew members have been evacuated and remain in Sydney health facilities.
Across the state, there are 369 passengers whose COVID-19 illness has been linked to the Ruby Princess, and 20 patients linked to the ship have died Australia-wide.
Watching the multiple controversies linked to the Ruby Princess unfold is what gave Kiama resident Nicole Dillon the idea to send care packages to the crew.
"The publicity they were getting must have been devastating for them and I saw an opportunity to show them we cared and supported them during these troubled times," she said.
In less than a week - with help from local politicians who spent the weekend packing boxes, as well as the NSW Port Authority, the Port Kembla Mission to Seafarers and charity Good360, founded by Illawarra woman Alison Covington - Ms Dillon's idea has become a reality.
As well as comfort food - not so easily obtained by crew now that the ship is in lock down and the galley is closed - the packages also contain personal notes and kids' drawings.
"We tried to encourage people to send in some Aussie type things, so it was something a little bit different that they wouldn't normally have on board," Ms Dillon said.
"This is just a small way we can show them that we care."
"Our message to them is: It's not your fault, we hope you're ok," Mr Kewa said.
We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we aim to make sure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here.