Monday, August 3, 2020

Two cruise ships hit by coronavirus weeks after industry restarts

Outbreaks of Covid-19 recorded on MS Roald Amundsen in Norway and the Paul Gauguin in Tahiti.

At least thirty-six crew members and three passengers onboard MS Roald Amundsen have so far tested positive for the new coronavirus Photograph: Terje Pedersen/NTB Scanpix/AFP/Getty Images

Covid-19 has been detected on at least two cruise ships – one in the Arctic and one in the Pacific – just weeks after cruising holidays restarted.

At least 40 passengers and crew from the MS Roald Amundsen have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and authorities are trying to contact trace hundreds of passengers from two recent Arctic voyages the ship took.

Four crew members on the MS Roald Amundsen were hospitalised on Friday when the ship arrived at the Norwegian port of Tromsø, and later diagnosed with the respiratory illness. Tests showed another 32 of the 158 staff were also infected.

But 178 passengers were allowed to leave the ship in Tromsø, triggering a complex operation to locate them in order to contain any potential spread.

So far, four of the 387 passengers who travelled on the ship on two separate cruises since 17 July have been found to carry the virus, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) and the Tromsoe municipality said.

In the Pacific, passengers aboard the Paul Gauguin – docked in Papeete, Tahiti – have been told to stay in their cabins after Covid-19 was detected on board by the ship’s doctor, French Polynesian press reports.

The Paul Gauguin was sailing between Bora Bora and the Rangiroa islands, when a positive case was detected in a crew member. The ship immediately turned around to head back to its home port.

It is not known how many passengers are on board – numbers have been reduced as part of the Ponant company’s strict coronavirus protocols – but infectious disease specialists will test every person on board.  Read more >>