Greek authorities confirmed Tuesday that 12 cruise ship crew members who tested positive for coronavirus on Monday have tested negative in three subsequent tests — leading to concerns that the original results were false positives.
The Mein Schiff 6, a Maltese-flagged ship run by Germany-based TUI Cruises, set out on Sunday night along the Greek island of Crete with 922 passengers and 666 crew members. The 12 crew members in question tested positive for the virus during a random sampling of 150 staff members. TUI Cruises said at the time said they were all asymptomatic and had been isolated.
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By Tuesday, the company said it had conducted further tests and concluded “there are no cases” of covid-19 aboard the ship. The company said Greek authorities had additionally confirmed their findings.
“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,” TUI Cruises said in a statement.
The journey will continue onward.
“I would like to thank all the responsible authorities for their good and professional cooperation in connection with the unclear test results on board Mein Schiff 6 and I am pleased that the voyage can be continued for all guests tomorrow with shore excursions in Piraeus,” Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises, said in the statement.
Earlier this year, cruise liners were early incubators of coronavirus outbreaks. Some ships were consequently stuck at sea after countries refused entry amid infection fears. The cruise industry has in turn taken a big financial hit as its lost customers and had to cancel trips.
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