Outbreak hits Norway cruise ship, could spread along coast

Slide Hurtigruten a Norwegian expedition cruise company unveiled the world's first hybrid cruise ship last year. It made its maiden voyage to Antarctica with 450 passengers aboard in November

Thirty-six crew members have tested positive for Covid-19 onboard Hurtigruten's MS Roald Amundsen, now docked in Tromsø, Norway, according to a statement provided by line spokesperson Øystein Knoph.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has not ruled out the possibility of more cases emerging, "but we will only have the answer once the tests have been carried out".

Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said in a statement today: "We are now focusing all available efforts in taking care of our guests and colleagues. We take full responsibility".

Of the 158 crew members on board, 36 are infected, Pal Jakobsen, media officer for the city of Tromso, told AFP, confirming a development that raises fears of a resurgence of cases in Norway.

What they're saying: "We have made mistakes". He added the company that sails along Norway's picturesque coast between Bergen in the south and Kirkenes in the north is "now in the process of a full review of all procedures, and all aspects of our own handling".

Most of the crew remained on board for both voyages, Rune Thomas Ege, Hurtigruten's vice president of global communications, told USA Today.

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It seemed likely that the round-Britain cruises would be cancelled when earlier it was announced that all sailings on MS Roald Amundsen, MS Fridtjof Nansen and MS Spitsbergen had been cancelled until further notice.

The news follows a passenger testing positive for coronavirus on the Paul Gauguin cruise ship in French Polynesia, forcing the vessel to return to port Tahiti. The cruise company said two assigned to the Costa Deliziosa were hospitalized in good condition, and a third, assigned to the Costa Favolosa, was in isolation on the ship. All have been asked to self-quarantine in accordance with Norwegian regulations, according to the cruise line. The Cabinet is meeting on the matter next Sunday.

The four patients were all foreign citizens, the hospital said, while declining to elaborate on their state of health or nationality.

The four crew members who were initially infected were isolated "several days ago", according to the cruise line, because they exhibited "other disease symptoms, showing no symptoms of Covid-19".

Colleen Barry in Milan contributed to this report. Click the link to confirm your subscription and begin receiving our newsletters.

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