One of the first cruise ships to resume operations reports cases of COVID-19

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TORONTO – Four crew members of one of the first cruise ships to resume operations after their shutdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic have tested positive for the disease. The operator and owner of the cruise liner Hurtigruten said in a statement that all four of the staff on board the Roald Amundsen tested positive after the ship docked in the port of Tromsoe in northern Norway on Friday.

“The four crew members were isolated several days ago due to another illness, with no symptoms of COVID-19. When the ship arrived in Tromsoe on Friday evening, however, everyone was tested regularly, ”Hurtigruten explained in the statement translated from Norwegian.

Hurtigruten said the 160 crew of the Roald Amundsen have been quarantined on the ship while the 177 passengers, who have already disembarked, are contacted by phone and asked to self-isolate. None of the guests reported experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 during the cruise.

Crew members who were later found to be infected with the novel coronavirus are now being treated at the University Hospital of North Norway.

“As part of the infection follow-up, Hurtigruten has been informed that a guest from the previous cruise after returning home has tested positive for COVID-19,” the statement said. Hurtigruten added that this may have been how his crew members got infected.

Hurtigruten said he was working with local health authorities to keep track of all guests and employees who were on board the ship’s last two trips.

The Roald Amundsen had made a one-week voyage from the Arctic port of Tromsoe to the Svalbard archipelago. The Roald Amundsen’s next voyage is not scheduled until early September when she will sail around the British Isles, docking in ports in England and Scotland.

Hurtigruten, which suspended most of its cruise operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March, announced in early July that it would gradually return all but two of its 16 ships to service by the end of September. Ships are currently sailing at reduced capacity.

“The safety of our guests and employees is Hurtigruten’s top priority, and we have strict routines to prevent infections. We check everyone on board every day, both the guests and the crew. That these four cases were discovered and isolated early, even without symptoms of COVID-19, shows that our measures and routines are working, ”Hurtigruten said.

At the start of the pandemic, thousands of passengers were stranded on cruise ships for weeks in Asia, the United States and South America, leading many operators to cancel their cruises for the foreseeable future.

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