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Coronavirus: Crew on first post-lockdown Greek cruise test positive for COVID-19

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Cruise ship Mein Schiff 6 in Hamburg before its official launch in 2017.
Cruise ship Mein Schiff 6 in Hamburg before its official launch in 2017.   -   Copyright  Bodo Marks/AP
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The first cruise ship to return to Greece since pandemic restrictions were eased docked at the port of Piraeus in Athens early on Tuesday morning after the discovery on board of a dozen suspected coronavirus contaminations, the Greek news agency ANA announced.

The ship, Mein Schiff 6, flying the Maltese flag and operating for the Anglo-German tourism giant TUI, is carrying 922 passengers and 666 crew members.

No one is currently allowed to disembark while personnel from the Greek public health agency have boarded the vessel to carry out tests.

Twelve crew members tested positive for coronavirus after 150 randomised samples were taken, the Greek coastguard said on Monday. According to TUI, they were asymptomatic.

But according to Greek media reports on Tuesday, follow-up tests on the same crew members proved negative.

Passengers had all been diagnosed as healthy after undergoing tests before boarding, according to the coastguard spokeswoman.

The cruise ship, the first to return to Greek waters since the lockdown at the end of March, had docked in mid-September in the Cretan port of Heraklion and left on Sunday evening for the island of Corfu by way of Piraeus, the port of Athens.

But the vessel was halted and moored off the coast of the island of Milos on Monday after the detection of suspected COVID-19 cases, until it was instructed to head to port in Athens.