COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A Norwegian cruise ship line halted all journeys and apologized Monday for procedural errors after a coronavirus outbreak on one ship contaminated no less than 5 passengers and 36 crew members. Well being authorities concern the ship additionally might have unfold the virus to dozens of cities and villages alongside Norway’s western coast.
The confirmed virus instances from the MS Roald Amundsen increase new questions on security on all cruise ships throughout a pandemic even because the devastated cruise ship trade is urgent to renew sailings after chaotically shutting down in March.
The Hurtigruten cruise line was one of many first firms to renew crusing through the pandemic, beginning cruises to Norway out of northern Germany in June with a single ship, then including cruises in July to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.
The 41 folks on the MS Roald Amundsen who examined constructive have been admitted to the College Hospital of North Norway in Tromsoe, north of the Arctic Circle, the place the ship presently is docked.
“A preliminary analysis reveals that there was a failure in a number of of our inside procedures,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam stated in a press release. He added the corporate that sails alongside Norway’s picturesque coast between Bergen within the south and Kirkenes within the north is “now within the means of a full overview of all procedures.”
It has contacted passengers who had been on the MS Roald Amundsen for its July 17-24 and July 25-31 journeys from Bergen to of Svalbard, which is understood for its polar bears. The ship had 209 friends on the primary voyage and 178 friends on the second. All different crew members examined damaging.
However because the cruise line typically acts like a neighborhood ferry, touring from port to port alongside Norway’s western coast, the virus might not have been contained onboard. Some passengers disembarked alongside the route and will have unfold the virus to their native communities.
A complete of 69 municipalities in Norway might have been affected, Norwegian information company NTB reported.
The town of Tromsoe is urging anybody who traveled on the ship or had any contact with it to get in contact with well being authorities.
The Norwegian authorities introduced Monday it was tightening the principles for cruise ships by banning ships with greater than 100 passengers from docking in Norwegian harbors and disembarking passengers and crew members.
The ban can be in place for 2 weeks and solely applies to cruise ships, not ferry boats. Well being Minister Bent Hoeie stated the state of affairs aboard the Hurtigruten ship served as “the background” for the choice.
Police in Norway stated they’d open an investigation to seek out out whether or not any legal guidelines had been damaged.
It’s not but how the MS Roald Amundsen outbreak started. NTB reported that 33 of the contaminated crew members got here from the Philippines and the others got here from Norway, France and Germany. The passengers had been from everywhere in the world.
Skjeldam stated cruise ship officers didn’t know they need to have notified passengers after the primary an infection was reported Friday, including that they adopted the recommendation of the ship’s docs.
However Line Vold of the Norwegian Institute of Public Well being stated its recommendation was to tell passengers and crew as quickly as doable so they may monitor their well being and go into quarantine or isolation, if wanted.
“Now we have made errors. On behalf of all of us in Hurtigruten, I’m sorry for what has occurred. We take full accountability,” Skjeldam stated.
Hurtigruten says the operations of three ships — MS Roald Amundsen, MS Fridtjof Nansen and MS Spitsbergen — have been halted for an indefinite interval.
In Italy, the Costa Crociere cruise ship line stated three crew members from two ships in Civitavecchia, close to Rome, have examined constructive for the coronavirus. The cruise firm stated two assigned to the Costa Deliziosa had been hospitalized and a 3rd, assigned to the Costa Favolosa, was in isolation on the ship.
The Italian cruise firm, which is a part of Carnival Corp. stated the crews of each ships had been being screened ‘’in view of the doable relaunch of our cruises, as quickly as the federal government provides the authorization.’ The Cupboard was to satisfy on the matter Sunday.
Costa Crociere stated that every one crew members had been examined for the virus earlier than leaving their international locations, then endure a second take a look at as soon as they arrive in Italy, after which they’re put beneath a two-week monitoring interval.
Cruise strains stopped crusing in mid-March after a number of high-profile coronavirus outbreaks at sea. Greater than 710 folks fell sick aboard Carnival’s Diamond Princess cruise ship whereas it was quarantined off Japan and 13 folks died.
A German cruise ship final week set sail from Hamburg, testing procedures for a way cruise ships can function safely through the pandemic. The ship sailed with lower than 50% capability and solely went on a four-day journey at sea with no stops at different ports.
Within the South Pacific, some 340 passengers and crew are confined on a cruise ship in Tahiti after one traveler examined constructive for the virus.
The commissariat for French Polynesia stated all these aboard the Paul Gauguin cruise ship are being examined and can be stored of their cabins Monday pending the outcomes.
The South Pacific archipelago began reopening to vacationers final month, with a requirement that every one guests get examined earlier than arriving and re-test themselves 4 days after getting into.
Colleen Barry in Milan and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.
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