Norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten is halting all its expedition cruises until further notice following an outbreak of COVID-19 on one of its vessels currently docked north of the Arctic Circle.
AT least 40 passengers and crew from the MS Roald Amundsen cruise liner have so far tested positive for the coronavirus, with hundreds more awaiting test results, say health officials. “A preliminary evaluation shows a breakdown in several of our internal procedures,” Chief Executive Daniel Skjeldam said in a statement.
The 40 people or so on the MS Roald Amundsen who tested positive have been admitted to the University Hospital of North Norway in Tromsoe, north of the Arctic Circle, where the ship currently is docked.
“Our own failure, as well as the recent rise in infections internationally, has led us to halt all expedition cruises in Norwegian and international waters,” he said.
While foreign crew members were tested for the coronavirus before leaving their home countries, they were not tested in Norway and did not quarantine before starting work on the ship, said a company spokesman.
So far, four of the combined 387 passengers travelling on the ship on two separate cruises since July 17 have been found to carry the virus, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) and the Tromsoe municipality said. health officials are now trying to trace contacts of these passengers.
The MS Roald Amundsen had been scheduled to sail around the British Isles in September, docking at ports in England and Scotland. The company added that Hurtigruten’s separate business of ferrying goods and people between ports in Norway will continue.