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36 crew members test positive for coronavirus on Norwegian cruise ship

AFP-Jiji

Thirty-six crew members confined on a Norwegian cruise ship have tested positive for the new coronavirus, officials said Saturday.

Arriving at the northern Norwegian port of Tromso from the archipelago of Svalbard, the crew of the MS Roald Amundsen was quarantined on board the ship on Friday after four staff members tested positive for the virus and were hospitalized.

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

The ship’s company Hurtigruten had earlier indicated 33 positive tests. The infected crew were all Filipino apart from three people from France, Norway and Germany.

The company said on Friday that four crew members “were isolated several days ago because of other disease symptoms, with no symptoms of COVID-19.

“There was no reason to suspect COVID-19 when the ship docked in Tromso based on the symptoms they were showing,” Hurtigruten said.

The ship had nearly 180 passengers on board since departing on July 25. None of the passengers reported symptoms related to coronavirus during the voyage, Hurtigruten said.

All passengers disembarked the ship on Friday but about 60 people have since been quarantined in Tromso, the cruise line said on Saturday.

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.” It recommended all passengers remain quarantined while awaiting their results.

As of Friday, Norway had 9,208 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

One person died of the virus on Friday night, bringing the country’s death toll to 256. It was the first coronavirus-related death in the Nordic country in two weeks.

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