On Saturday, Hurtigruten released a statement that thirty-six crew and four guests on a Norwegian cruise ship have tested positive for Covid-19.
All 158 crew members from the MS Roald Amundsen have been tested after four staff became sick.
“None of the 154 crew members still on board the ship — including the 32 new confirmed positive tests Saturday — has shown any signs of disease or symptoms of Covid-19,” it said. “Four guests have tested positive. The ship is currently docked in Tromso, Norway, with no guests on board.”
The statement added that the four crew members are in a hospital in Tromso. They tested positive Friday after being quarantined for several days after showing “other disease symptoms” not related to Covid-19.
The ship was scheduled to sail to Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago north of Norway, on Friday afternoon, and that trip has been canceled since. Hurtigruten said that the guests from two expeditions are now self-isolating in line with Norwegian regulations.
“The safety and well being of our guests and crew is Hurtigruten’s number one priority,” it said. “All crew members are closely monitored and screened daily.”
Rune Thomas Ege, Hurtigruten VP of Global Communications said the company was “focusing all available efforts in taking care of our guests and colleagues” and would be “working closely with the Norwegian national and local health authorities for follow-up, information, further testing, and infection tracking.
On July 27, the European Maritime Safety Agency issued guidelines for the reopening of cruise ships in the European Union and countries in the European Economic Area. It states that “cruise operators need to ensure that cruises do not pose unacceptable health risks to passengers, staff, and the general public, in particular when compared to other types of a package holiday.”
The agency recommends enhanced cleaning, keep a physical distance of at least 1.5 meters, and the use of face masks if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Hurtigruten said its non-Norwegian crew members are quarantined before boarding, and the non-European crew needs to undergo two negative Covid-19 tests before leaving their home country.
Norway has reported more than 9,200 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 255 deaths, according to John Hopkins.
Norway first confirmed cases in February and introduced lockdown measures in March, including the shutting of its borders to most foreign nationals and the closure of schools and universities.
In mid-July, the country eased some restrictions on entry into the country for travelers from the EEA as well as family members and partners of citizens.