12 people on first cruise ship to sail since pandemic test positive for COVID-19

The first cruise ship to sail in Greece post-coronavirus lockdown was forced to dock this week after 12 crew tested positive for COVID-19.

The Maltese-flagged Mein Schiff 6 set sail from Heraklion in Crete on Sunday night, 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.

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The positive cases, however, were later “identified as negative” in two rounds of follow-up tests after local health authorities boarded the docked cruiser.

The 12 crew members, plus 24 others who had been in contact with them, remained in isolation awaiting further test results while all 922 passengers were forced to stay on the ship when it 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.

The latter indicated the first test may have been a false positive.

The ship’s operator TUI confirmed overnight there were no cases of COVID-19 on the vessel and it was able to continue its planned voyage, included a trip to the western island of Corfu.

“Following a false alarm caused by a report of 12 positive test results on crew by a land-based laboratory, three further tests, including two PCR tests and one antigen test, have confirmed the results: There are no cases of COVID-19 on board Mein Schiff 6. This was confirmed by the Greek authorities,” TUI Cruises said in a press release.

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.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission is an Australian news and entertainment website owned by News Corp Australia. It had 9.6 million unique readers in April 2019 and specialises in breaking national and international news as well as entertainment, sport, lifestyle, travel, technology and finance.

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