Corona Scandal on the Hurtigruten Cruise in Norway

NRK writes that Hurtigruten did not do anything even if they knew about a possible corona infection on board. Now more than 40 people are infected.

As of now, more than 40 people have been infected after a corona outbreak on the cruise ship MS “Roald Amundsen”.

The virus has affected employees and passengers on two voyages between Tromsø and Svalbard in the end of July.

The scandal has spread far beyond Norway’s borders. A story about failure in taking the precaution can have consequences for one of Norway’s most important brands, Hurtigruten.

Director of Hurtigruten, Daniel SkjeldamWe confessed that they have failed.

How did it happen?

Employees from the Philippines went straight to work. Currently, 35 employees at MS “Roald Amundsen” are infected with the coronavirus. Most of them are from the Philippines.

Norwegian authorities demands people who come from the Philippines needs to be quarantined for ten days when they come to Norway. Yet they went straight to work on the cruise ship.

Hurtigruten believes that the infection comes from one of the Filipinos on board. But director Skjeldam believes the company followed international rules when they put the workers straight to work.

Not notified about the infection on board

On 29 July, Hurtigruten became aware that there could be a corona infection on «Roald Amundsen». A resident of Hadsel municipality had been diagnosed with covid-19. The person in question had been on the first cruise to Svalbard, from 17 to 24 July.

The chief doctor of Hadsel municipality notified both the National Institute of Public Health (FHI) and Hurtigruten about the case.

FHI encouraged Hurtigruten to notify both passengers on the first voyage and passengers who were now on board about the possible infection.

The shipping company did not give any further notice.

After two days, Hurtigruten received confirmation that four employees on board were infected. Only then Hurtigruten decided to notify the passengers.

Internal e-mails show that Hurtigruten has withheld information about the infection, writes NRK.

In a press release, the company admits that they have made several mistakes in this case. Among other things, important information from FHI have not been disseminated internally.

The passengers were allowed to leave the ship

Hurtigruten received confirmation of corona infection among four of its employees. But till they announced it, some of the passengers had already left the city. Others had to be isolated in a hotel while waiting for a test result.

Both the police and the county doctor in Troms and Finnmark will now take a closer look at how Hurtigruten has handled the outbreak.

The police will investigate whether the company or individuals in Hurtigruten have violated the Infection Control Act.

Hurtigruten as a company risks being fined. Should there be individuals who have broken the law, they risk fines or imprisonment.

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