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Second Norwegian cruise ship reports Covid-19 case

Norway has already placed restrictions on cruise ships docking in its ports over Covid-19 concerns.

Image: PA

A CRUISE SHIP carrying more than 200 people docked in a Norwegian harbour on Wednesday and ordered to keep everyone on board after a passenger from a previous trip tested positive for the coronavirus upon returning home to Denmark.

Bodo’s mayor Ida Pinneroed told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that the SeaDream 1′s 85 crew members would all be tested for the virus and that authorities were in contact with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health on whether the 123 passengers should be as well.

“We take the situation very seriously,” the mayor said.

The Norway-based company that owns the ship, SeaDream Yacht Club, said the former passenger had no symptoms of Covid-19 during the earlier voyage and had travelled home from Tromso on 2 August.

The person underwent a routine virus test upon arrival in Denmark and it came back positive on Tuesday.

All the other passengers from the infected individual’s trip must self-quarantine for 10 days, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health said.

The ship’s new journey down the Norwegian coast started on 2 August in Tromso and stopped in Bodo, 124.3 miles to the south.

“We sincerely hope that there is no Covid-19 on board, and we are not aware of any other guests or crew who are infected or have any symptoms, but we are taking all necessary precautions,” SeaDream Yacht Club said in a statement.

Norwegian news agency NTB reported later today that the entire crew had tested negative.

It was not immediately clear if the ship would remain under quarantine or would be permitted to disembark some or all of those on board.

Meanwhile, the number of people on another Norwegian cruise ship, the MS Roald Amundsen, who have tested positive for the virus has reached 44 – nine passengers and 35 crew members – the Norwegian Institute of Public Health reported yesterday.

All nine infected passengers on the MS Roald Amundsen were registered as Norway residents.

Passengers and crew on the MS Roald Amundsen come from Germany, Denmark, Austria, the Philippines, and Latvia.

The positive cases from the ship follow two cruises in July between mainland Norway and the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic circle.

Earlier in the week, Norway announced restrictions on ships with more than 100 people on board, including crew members, which meant that the ships would be barred from stopping off or disembarking passengers in Norwegian ports for at least two weeks.

The decision excludes ferries but impacts half a dozen companies with permits to disembark.

It was not immediately clear why SeaDream 1 was allowed to dock in Bodo.

The Hurtigruten cruise line, which operates the MS Roald Amundsen, halted all its cruise trips after the outbreak emerged and restrictions were placed on ships.

Its business shipping goods between ports in Norway is due to continue.

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Hurtigruten’s ships often act like a local ferry, travelling from port to port along Norway’s west coast.

Daniel Skjeldam, CEO of Hurtigruten, said that the company had “not been good enough and we have made mistakes”.

Some disembarking passengers may have spread the virus to local communities.

Hurtigruten was the first cruise operator globally to bring an oceangoing going cruise ship back into service when it returned to sea in mid-June.

It said that it had brought in reduced passenger capacity, social distancing, and hygiene rules as measures to combat the risk from Covid-19.

The MS Roald Amundsen was due to sail around the UK and Ireland in September.

In Russia, a river cruise ship was detained in the city of Nizhny Novgorod on Saturday after nine crew members tested positive for the coronavirus.

Three of them were taken to hospital, and all the passengers aboard were taken home by bus, local authorities said.

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