Covid-19: South Africa quarantines cruise ship over suspected cases

18 March 2020 (Last Updated March 18th, 2020 11:17)

South Africa has quarantined an AIDA Cruises cruise liner MV AidAmira and a cargo vessel over Covid-19 fears.

Covid-19: South Africa quarantines cruise ship over suspected cases
AIDA Cruises cruise liner MV AidAmira and a cargo vessel are quarantined in South Africa over Covid-19 fears. Credit: Walter Koch.

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South Africa has quarantined an AIDA Cruises cruise liner MV AidAmira and a cargo vessel over Covid-19 fears.

National ports operator Transnet said the ships have been held off near Cape Town as one of the crew members has exhibited coronavirus symptoms.

In a statement, Transnet said: “This is the first suspected case of Covid-19 in a South African sea-port.”

The company added that the suspected individual was a crew member on the MV Corona cargo vessel and was on the flight along with another crew member and six AidAmira passengers who embarked on the ship at the port.

On 11 March, the cargo vessel left Cape Town but returned to the port after the member exhibited symptoms of the disease.

As a precautionary measure, the six cruise passengers, who are asymptomatic, were also quarantined to undergo other medical chek-ups.

The cruise is carrying 1,240 passengers and 486 crew members and was returning from Walvis Bay in Namibia. In addition to the six passengers, the remaining crew and passengers are currently quarantined.

On 16 March, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ MS Braemar cruise ship received permission to dock in Cuba where its passengers will disembark.

Last week, a number of cruise lines announced the suspension of cruise line operations to reduce the spread of the coronavirus on their ships.

The Government of India also announced the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for international cruise ships to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The Ministry of Shipping barred the entry of any international cruise ship, crew or passenger with a travel history of visiting a coronavirus affected countries after 1 February to its major ports until 31 March.