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36 crew members on Norwegian cruise ship test positive for COVID-19

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By Euronews  with AFP
33 crew members have tested positive for COVID-19
33 crew members have tested positive for COVID-19   -   Copyright  AFP

At least 36 crew members on a Norwegian cruise ship have tested positive for coronavirus, days after nearly 200 passengers disembarked.

Of the 158 crew members on board the MS Roald Amundsen36 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.

On Friday, four of the ship's staff had already tested positive for the virus and have since been hospitalised.

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 ship arrived on Friday morning at the port of Tromsø north of Svalbard, where the remaining crew were quarantined on board.

There are no guests currently on the vessel.

"There was no reason to suspect the COVID-19 when the ship docked in Tromsø because of the symptoms they were showing," a company spokesperson said, referring to the four crew members who have been hospitalised.

Around 180 passengers, who departed on July 25, disembarked on Friday, while more than 200 guests were on board between 17-24 July. These guests will self-quarantine “in line with Norwegian health authority regulations,” the company said.

On Friday, 9,208 cases were reported in Norway.

One person died from the virus on Friday evening, bringing the death toll to 256. This is the first COVID-19-related death in the kingdom in two weeks.

The cruise ship industry has been devastated and has had to give up much of its business. Several liners from different shipowners were essentially turned into quarantine zones in April and May for suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus contamination.

Hurtigruten announced in March that it had suspended almost all its activities because of the pandemic.