An Australian shipping company is trying to unload a disaster-hit Antarctic cruise ship, in which around 60% of its passengers and crew have been infected with the corona virus.
On Tuesday, the ship’s operator, Aurora Expeditions said that of 132 passengers and 85 crew, 128 people had tested positive for Covid-19. Most of the passengers are considered Australians, although there are also New Zealand, US, and British citizens.
“We found a ship where almost everyone has been infected,” said Karina Rando, one of 21 Uruguayan doctors sent to the ship. “We have done our best to prevent our own infection. Most of the passengers are fine. “
Many of those who tested positive still showed no symptoms, but could still be at risk, Rando said.
“There are many patients over 70 years, some of them with other chronic conditions such as heart and lung disease,” he said. “Patients may get sick tomorrow even though they look healthy today.”
The $ 65 million ship departed on March 15 from the Argentine port in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. It had made a 16-day voyage to Antarctica and South Georgia, baptized “In Shackleton’s Footsteps” after the British polar explorer.
Coronavirus symptoms began to appear immediately after departure, and the ship was diverted to the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo. Even the ship’s doctor fell ill from a fever and could not do his job.
“We have made it clear that poor health and isolation of the crew make it difficult to maintain the same essential service standards on board,” Aurora Expeditions told passengers on April 2.
Uruguay Permission is denied for berths, and also refuses to allow passengers or crew to disembark.
The decision was finally canceled at the weekend, when a Uruguayan navy ship was sent to Greg Mortimer to move six seriously ill passengers and take them to the British Hospital in Montevideo.
On Saturday the Uruguayan navy tweeted a video of a passenger – reportedly a British woman with pneumonia in both lungs – jumped from a cruise ship moving to a military ship to be taken to hospital in the Uruguayan capital.
“The people on the boat are calm but they want to go home,” Marcelo Girard, a doctor at the Uruguay medical facility where two people from the cruise ship were treated, told AP.
Passengers from Australia and New Zealand will board an emergency flight to Melbourne on Thursday, Uruguay’s authorities confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
The cost per passenger is around $ 9,300 and cruise ship operators have asked the Australian government for help with expenses. When landing, passengers will undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Other passengers have to wait longer. “We have been told that European and American passengers who tested positive for Covid-19, unfortunately have to wait until they have negative test results after that we will be able to arrange their departure through Sao Paulo and then to their final destination,” the company said.
Uruguay has 406 confirmed cases of corona virus and six deaths.
to request modification Contact us at Here or [email protected]