Cruise holiday chaos: COVID outbreak on first ship to sail – 177 passengers self isolating

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Hurtigruten’s ship MS Roald Amundsen was one of the first cruise ships in the world to resume operation after lockdown. The ship was docked in the port of Tromsø in northern Norway when coronavirus infections were detected in some of the crew members. All 177 passengers aboard have now been contacted and have been told to self-isolate.

Rune Thomas Ege, Vice President of Global Communications in Hurtigruten said: “The safety of our guests and crews is Hurtigruten’s highest priority.

“We are working closely with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, FHI, Tromsø municipality, UNN, and other resources both locally and nationally.

Mr Ege added: “There was no reason to suspect COVID-19 when the ship docked in Tromsø based on the symptoms the four of the crew had.

“Fortunately, we received a quick response to the tests, so that both we and the Tromsø municipality were able to implement measures.”

The MS Roald Amundsen was set to venture on to Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean on Friday.

The company has said the rest of the cruise has been cancelled.

The company is not to resume the cruise until September.

A former junior minister at Norway’s ministry of health was on the ship.

She said passengers were instructed to socially distance as much as possible on the ship.

Ms Haugan said: “The crew observed us washing our hands and also took our temperatures.

“When I learned of the outbreak, I immediately went for a test and will quarantine at least until I get the result.”

The vessel was operating on 50 percent capacity.

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Buffet style meals were also cancelled aboard the ship.

At a press conference Tromsoe municipality chief doctor Kathrine Kristoffersen said: “By the time we were notified, the passengers had left the ship.

“All passengers will, for the time being, be asked to quarantine.”

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of passengers were stranded on cruise ships across the world.

Much media coverage monitored the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was docked in Japan.

On this ship at least 712 out of the 3,711 passengers and crew were infected with coronavirus and fourteen people aboard died.

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