River cruise ship in Europe on lockdown after COVID-19 outbreak

Sep 11, 2020

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One of several dozen river cruise ships that have resumed operations in Europe in recent months is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak, according to European media outlets.

Portugal’s tvi24 reports that two passengers and five crew members on CroisiEurope’s Portugal-based, 138-passenger Vasco da Gama have tested positive for the new coronavirus.

One of the two passengers has been hospitalised, according to Expresso, another Portuguese news outlet. The other passenger has been isolated in a hotel, the outlet says.

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Expresso says the five crew members who have tested positive have been isolated on the ship, which is docked in Castelo de Paiva — a town along Portugal’s Douro River.

The outbreak came to light at the very end of a Douro River sailing, and all the passengers on the trip except the two who tested positive had departed the vessel before health authorities could stop them, according to several media outlets. They now are on their way back to their home countries in Europe.

There were 67 passengers on the voyage in all.

Related: Passenger tests positive on Tahiti-based Paul Gauguin Cruises 

The ship sails with 20 crew members, all of whom are now quarantined on board the vessel.

A spokesperson for CroisiEurope based in the United States did not immediately have a statement on the situation.

CroisiEurope is one of Europe’s largest river cruise companies, and it has restarted river cruises in recent months in several European countries.

The line caters mostly to French-speaking travellers.

Vasco da Gama is the second cruise ship to experience a significant COVID-19 outbreak since some cruise lines began resuming sailings earlier this summer.

The 535-passenger Roald Amundsen, operated by Norwegian expedition cruise company Hurtigruten, experienced a major COVID-19 outbreak just days after it resumed sailings in July. The incident prompted Hurtigruten to cancel all the sailings it had restarted on three vessels.

Three other ships have had COVID scares since July. All three had a single passenger test positive for the illness.

Every major cruise line around the world cancelled all departures in March after the new coronavirus was declared a pandemic. But a growing number of lines in Europe and several other places around the world have been restarting limited operations since June.

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