The first cruise ship to sail in Greece post-coronavirus lockdown was forced to dock Tuesday after 12 crew tested positive for the contagion, local officials said.
The Maltese-flagged Mein Schiff 6 set sail from Heraklion in Crete Sunday evening but its journey was halted following the “unclear positive COVID-19 tests” from 12 of the 666 crew on board, according to Agence France-Presse.
The positive cases, however, were later “identified as negative” in two rounds of follow-up tests after local health authorities boarded the docked cruiser, TUI Cruises said.
The 12 crew members and 24 others who had been in contact with them remained in isolation awaiting further test results, the cruise said — with all 922 passengers also forced to stay on the ship, which docked in Piraeus.
By Tuesday morning, the apparently positive members had undergone two tests — the first a PCR test administered by the cruise line and then a rapid antigen test by Greek authorities, according to USA Today. The latter indicated the first test may have been a false positive.
Greek officials also administered another PCR tests and results of that are expected by Tuesday evening, the cruise line’s spokesperson, Godja Sönnichsen, told USA Today.
“Thanks to the extensive hygiene measures and clearance rules on board, there is no reason for guests and crew to worry,” said Sönnichsen.
If Greek authorities give the all-clear, the ship will continue its planned voyage, which includes a trip to the western island of Corfu.
The cruise industry has taken a major hit from the pandemic, with some of the earliest large clusters of COVID-19 occurring aboard cruise ships.
Mein Schiff 6 was the first to return to Greek waters after lockdown measures imposed in March, AFP said.
With Post wires