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.
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.”
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.