Covid-19: Cruise ship free to sail from Cape Town after quarantine is lifted

Tourists aboard the cruise ship AIDAmira celebrate on March 19 2020 after hearing that Covid-19 tests on six fellow passengers had come back negative.
Tourists aboard the cruise ship AIDAmira celebrate on March 19 2020 after hearing that Covid-19 tests on six fellow passengers had come back negative.
Image: Esa Alexander

Transnet has lifted the Covid-19 quarantine on two ships at Cape Town harbour, which are now free to depart.

More than 1,700 passengers and crew spent four days stuck aboard the Italian-flagged cruise ship AIDAmira pending screening tests on six passengers.

A second vessel, the cargo ship MV Corona, was also quarantined after one of the crew showed symptoms consistent with Covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.  

However, tests showed no positive results and passengers and crew are now free to disembark.

“Port health has now granted clearance for both vessels to continue their journeys from the port of Cape Town,”  Transnet said in a statement on Thursday.

“It is expected that the AIDAmira passengers will be allowed to disembark in the port of Cape Town and fly onward to their respective countries.”

Captain Sabelo Mdlalose, acting chief harbour master at Transnet National Ports Authority, said: “All parties are relieved that these results have returned negative and that plans can be set in motion for the vessels to continue their journeys.

“This means there have to date been no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in any of our ports but we will remain on high alert after this first scare and will keep working with the port health unit of the department of health to manage vessels who report potential cases.” 

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