Norway’s health minister Bent Hoie said Monday that the country will stop all cruise ships with more than 100 people on board from disembarking at Norwegian ports.
The decision comes after 36 crew members and 4 guests on a Hurtigruten cruise ship have tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday. Hurtigruten said that the 177 passengers, all of whom have already disembarked, are being contacted by telephone and are being told to self-isolate.
The announcement comes as the cruise ship industry is pressing to resume sailings after shutting down in March. Hurtigruten was one of the first companies to resume sailing during the pandemic.
During the cruise, passengers were instructed to socially distance and had their temperatures measured. “A preliminary evaluation shows that there has been a failure in several of our internal procedures”, Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said.
Norwegian police said they would investigate whether any laws had been broken: “We have found grounds to open a case”, Troms Police Lawyer Thomas Rye-Holmboe told the media.
Hoie said the new rules will initially apply for 14 days, and will not apply to regular ferry traffic, both domestic and international.