Norway tightens rules for cruise passengers after ship outbreak

Norway tightens rules for cruise passengers after ship outbreak
A Covid-19 test centre in Tromsø. Photo: AFP
Crew and passengers currently on cruise ships in Norway are to face stricter rules when going ashore, and no new cruises will be allowed to set sail for the next 14 days.

Cruise ships with more than 100 passengers and crew on board are encompassed by the new measures, which were announced by the government at a press conference on Monday.

“Ongoing cruises that have been approved and already begun must be carried out in accordance with the regulations that applied at their beginning, but there will be no opportunity to go ashore,” Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie said at the briefing, reported by Norwegian media including VG.

Ships bearing more than 100 people — including crew — will be barred from stopping off or disembarking passengers in Norwegian ports for at least two weeks, Høie said.

The decision comes after an outbreak onboard the MS Roald Amundsen, a cruise ship owned by the Hurtigruten operator, resulted in at least 41 Covid-19 infections and the involvement of dozens of municipalities.

READ ALSO: Norway cruise company halts operations after coronavirus outbreak

As such, ongoing cruises may complete their journeys, but passengers and crew may not go ashore in Norway before fulfilling coronavirus requirements.

“If the ship had people on board at departure who are encompassed by quarantine (rules) or if infection on board is suspected, everyone must be tested before they can go ashore in Norway,” Høie said.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has requested that all passengers from two cruises on the Roald Amundsen should be monitored and tested, as well as quarantining for ten days after their return to shore.

A total of 36 crew members and 5 passengers have tested positive for coronavirus in connection with the Roald Amundsen's two voyages since July 17th. Four employees are admitted to the University Hospital of Northern Norway, VG writes.

The crew of the ship is made up largely of Philippines nationals. The majority of passengers are Norwegians, but the manifest also includes people from Germany, Denmark, the UK, the US, France, Estonia and Latvia.

 

Ferry passengers are not affected by the measures.

“The restrictions do not apply to ferries because they contribute to the transport of goods and services, so we believe that other considerations that apply,” Høie said.

Hurtigruten’s ferry routes are also excepted from the new restrictions.

“This is a situation that has arisen on a cruise ship and this is where we see the need to put a foot on the brakes. This case is isolated to this type of business,” Minister of Trade and Industry Iselin Nybø said at the briefing.

Norway’s health authorities recommended a temporary halt to cruise traffic in Norway, VG reports.

Hurtigruten announced earlier Monday that it would suspend its cruises in response to the Roald Amundsen outbreak.


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