Thirty-six crew and four guests on a Norwegian cruise ship have tested positive for Covid-19, the cruise company says.
All 158 crew members from the MS Roald Amundsen have been tested after four staff became ill and were found to have the disease on Friday, according to a statement released Saturday by Hurtigruten, the owner of the ship.
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“None of the 154 crew members still on board the ship – including the 32 new confirmed positive tests Saturday – has shown any signs of disease or symptoms of Covid-19,” it said. “Four guests have tested positive. The ship is currently docked in Tromso, Norway, with no guests on board.”
The four crew members tested positive Friday after being in isolation for several days for showing “other disease symptoms” but none associated with Covid-19, according to the statement. They are in a hospital in Tromso.
The ship was scheduled to sail to Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago north of Norway, on Friday afternoon. That trip has been canceled.
Guests from two expeditions are now self-quarantining in line with Norwegian regulations, Hurtigruten said.
“The safety and well being of our guests and crew is Hurtigruten’s number one priority,” Hurtigruten said in the statement. “All crew members are closely monitored and screened daily.”
Hurtigruten VP of Global Communications Rune Thomas Ege said the company was “focusing all available efforts in taking care of our guests and colleagues” and would be “working closely with the Norwegian national and local health authorities for follow-up, information, further testing and infection tracking.”
The MS Roald Amundsen had two expeditions to the Arctic, one on July 17 with 209 guests, and another on July 24 with 178 guests on board.
On July 27, the European Maritime Safety Agency issued guidelines for the resumption of cruise ships in the European Union and countries in the European Economic Area. It states that “cruise operators need to ensure that cruises do not pose unacceptable health risks to passengers, staff and the general public, in particular when compared to other types of package holiday.”
It recommends enhanced cleaning, keeping physical distancing of at least 1.5 meters, and the use of face masks if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Hurtigruten said its non-Norwegian crew members are quarantined before boarding, and non-European crew need to undergo two negative Covid-19 tests before leaving their home country.
According to John Hopkins, Norway has reported more than 9,200 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 255 deaths.
The country first confirmed cases in February and introduced lockdown measures the following month, including the shutting of its borders to most foreign nationals and the closure of schools and universities.