Corona outbreak on Norwegian cruise ship (the first in the world to sail again)

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This weekend, Norwegian shipping company Hurtigruten announced that 36 crew members and 4 passengers from two different cruises have been infected with the corona virus.

Quarantined crew

At the end of last week, the ship docked at the port of Tromsø, the largest city in northern Norway. There, four crew members were tested positive for the coronavirus. The entire crew, 158 people, then had to remain in quarantine on the ship.

However, the 178 passengers were already disembarked at the time. The Norwegian health authorities, together with the shipping company, immediately launched a large-scale operation to track down all passengers. They should be self-isolated for two weeks to prevent further spread of the virus.

More infections expected

Some passengers from a previous cruise last month were also infected. In total, this concerns 387 passengers who are currently being approached by the Norwegian health authorities. “We expect to find more infections,” said a spokesperson yesterday.

According to the Financial Times, this concerns passengers from at least 69 municipalities in Norway, which means that the outbreak can quickly have major consequences. “All passengers have already received a message from us,” said the shipping company yesterday. “We are currently verifying that those messages arrived correctly and are understood by everyone.”

Hurtigruten was the first shipping company in the world to resume international cruises in mid-June. Cruise ships sail to the Arctic Circle from Norway. The shipping company also has plans to offer several cruise trips to the British Isles again this month.

Arctic Circle

Due to the corona crisis, the ships had been stationary for at least three months. When the first cruise passengers were welcomed back last month, she was urged not to worry. Hurtigruten had taken ‘very strict measures’ to avoid contamination during the trips. In their own words, the precautions were more careful than Norwegian or international regulations.

Experts have long warned that journeys to the Arctic Circle, such as Hurtigruten’s, are irresponsible today. There are only very limited medical facilities in the area. Therefore, if medical attention is needed during a trip due to a coronavirus outbreak, this is an immediate problem.

Shipping companies themselves say that they have enough equipment on board to accommodate passengers. Hurtigruten has canceled a cruise scheduled for this weekend, but it is not clear if all trips will be canceled.

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