[UPDATED 4 August 2020: After testing of all crew and passengers on board the Paul Gauguin, all results came back negative for COVID-19]
Just weeks after some cruise lines began returning to the waters, at least two cruise ships have been hit with coronavirus outbreaks.
In the Arctic, at least 40 passengers and crew from the MS Roald Amundsen have returned positive tests for COVID-19.
According to The Guardian, 36 of the 156 crew members on board the Hurtigruten vessel were infected with the virus, with four workers hospitalised in the Norwegian port city of Tromso.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) and the Tromsoe municipality said that so far four of 387 passengers who had travelled on the ship on two separate cruises since 17 July also tested positive for the virus.
Contact tracing is underway after 178 passengers on one of the journeys were allowed to disembark.
“We expect that more infections will be found in connection to this outbreak,” FHI senior executive Line Vold said. “Passengers have been told to self-isolate.”
Hurtigruten was the first cruise line to return to ocean sailing in mid-June.
Meanwhile, French Polynesian press have reported that passengers on board the Paul Gauguin have been told to stay in their cabins after the ship’s doctor detected COVID-19 on board.
Docked in home port Papeete, Tahiti, the Paul Gauguin was travelling between Bora Bora and the Rangiroa Islands when a crew member tested positive for coronavirus.
It is not known how many passengers are on board the Paul Gauguin, but the ship’s operator, Ponant, has limited the number of guests allowed on its vessels under strict COVID-19 protocols.
Every person on board the ship, which resumed sailing on 18 July for locals and 29 July for international guests, will be tested for the virus.
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