New coronavirus outbreak in Hurtigruten cruise ship

Published on : Tuesday, August 4, 2020

In a time when the cruise industry is planning to resume operations and seeking to rebuild passenger confidence, the latest outbreak of COVID-19 virus on a Hurtigruten cruise ship in Tromso, Norway is likely to cause new tension among passengers. On Friday, four crew members on expedition ship MS Roald Amundsen were confirmed with coronavirus and were immediately taken to the hospital.

All 158 crew members on the ship were subsequently tested with a further 32 located cases. While the crew was quarantined on the ship, 178 passengers were allowed to disembark. This subsequently triggered a complex operation to locate them in order to contain any potential spread.

According to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, as of now nearly four of the combined 387 passengers travelling on the ship on two separate cruises since July 17 have been found to be infected with the virus. Meanwhile, the ship has been docked in Tromso, with no guests on board. MS Roald Amundsen was scheduled to sail to Svalbard last Friday but the voyage stands cancelled, with the next cruise on the ship not planned until September.

Rune Thomas Ege, Vice President, Global Communications, Hurtigruten said in a statement that the company is currently focusing in all available efforts in taking care of guests and colleagues. He mentioned that authorities are working closely with the Norwegian national and local health authorities for follow-up, information, further testing, and infection tracking. He also said that the safety and well-being of guests and crew is the number one priority for Hurtigruten.

He shared that all crew members are being closely monitored and screened on a daily basis and non- Norwegian crew members are being quarantined before boarding the ship. He also informed that it is now mandatory for all non-European crew to undergo two negative COVID-19 tests before even leaving their home country.

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