A Norwegian cruise ship line halted all trips and apologized Monday for procedural errors after an outbreak of coronavirus on one ship infected at least 4 passengers and 36 crew members.
The 40 people on the MS Roald Amundsen who tested positive have been admitted to the University Hospital of North Norway in Tromsoe, north of the Arctic Circle, where the ship currently is docked.
"A preliminary evaluation shows that there has been a failure in several of our internal procedures," Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said in a statement. The cruise line has contacted passengers who had been on the MS Roald Amundsen for its July 17 and July 24 departures from Bergen to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, which is known for its polar bears.
All 158 crew members on MS Roald Amundsen have been tested and 122 were negative. There were 209 guests on the first voyage and 178 guests on the second voyage.
But since the cruise ship line often acts like a local ferry, traveling from port to port along Norway's western coast, the virus may not have been contained onboard. Some passengers disembarked along the route and may have spread the virus to their local communities.
Its not known how the outbreak began since guests come from all over the world.
The Norwegian news agency NTB said 33 of the 36 crew members that have tested positive came from the Philippines.