COVID outbreak ends thousands on German ship cruise to Lisbon


LISBON, Jan. 2 (Reuters) – The German operator of a cruise ship stranded in the port of Lisbon due to a coronavirus outbreak among its crew halted the trip on Sunday after some passengers tested positive, said announced the port authorities.

The AIDAnova, with 2,844 passengers and 1,353 crew on board docked in Lisbon on December 29 while en route to Madeira Island for the New Year celebrations, but was unable to continue the journey after 52 cases of COVID-19 were detected among the fully-vaccinated crew.

He had been cleared out of the port and headed for the Spanish island of Lanzarote on Sunday, but now 12 other people have tested positive, including four passengers, port captain Diogo Vieira Branco told TSF radio.

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“The company protocol was immediately implemented, people infected, asymptomatic or showing mild symptoms, immediately isolated on the ship (…) and the company decided to end the cruise and disembark the passengers “, did he declare.

The passengers would be flown home, he added, without specifying when.

Luggage of AIDAnova cruise passengers is seen in the port of Lisbon, as passengers leave the cruise during the day due to an outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among its crew, in Lisbon, Portugal, January 3 2022. REUTERS / Pedro Nunes

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AIDA Cruises, which is a subsidiary of Carnival Corp, did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Reuters footage showed passengers still enjoying the afternoon sun on the decks with their drinks, and local media said disembarkation would begin after 6 a.m. Monday.

The crew who had tested positive between Wednesday and Friday were transferred to hotels in Lisbon and were there in isolation.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday advised people to avoid traveling on cruise ships, regardless of their vaccination status. Read more

The move dealt another blow to the industry, which only returned to sea in June after a travel suspension for several months caused by the pandemic.

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Report by Andrei Khalip and Miguel Pereira; Editing by Alison Williams

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