Ship sail

Passengers leave COVID-hit cruise ship after 5 days stranded in Lisbon

LISBON, Jan. 3 (Reuters) – Inconsolate passengers stranded on a cruise ship docked in the port of Lisbon for five days due to a COVID-19 outbreak began disembarking early Monday, focused on clearing the final hurdle a negative test before boarding return flights.

The AIDAnova, carrying 2,844 passengers and 1,353 crew members, docked in the Portuguese capital on Wednesday.

The ship was on its way to Madeira Island for New Year’s celebrations, but the cruise was halted after COVID-19 was detected among the crew, 52 of whom tested positive between Wednesday and Friday.

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As of Monday, 68 positive cases, including a handful among passengers, had been detected, port captain Diogo Vieira Branco told Lusa News Agency.

The ship’s German operator, Carnival Corp’s (CCL.N) affiliate AIDA Cruises, said all those infected had mild symptoms or none at all. All crew and guests over the age of 12 had been fully vaccinated and had to show a negative rapid antigen test before departure, he added.

AIDAnova cruise lines leave the port of Lisbon due to a coronavirus outbreak among the cruise crew in Lisbon, Portugal, January 3, 2022. REUTERS / Pedro Nunes

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Passengers who had tested negative again within the past 48 hours began to disembark before dawn and were transported by bus to the city’s airport in an operation that is expected to last for most of the next day. the day.

“We live in this situation and it can always happen. Of course, it is not pleasant, we imagined something else,” said a calm but disappointed passenger as he disembarked.

“We all want this to end. We are coming home,” added another.

AIDA Cruises said it adheres to “comprehensive health and safety protocols” on all of its cruises.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday advised people to avoid traveling on cruise ships, regardless of their vaccination status. Read more

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Reporting by Miguel Pereira, Pedro Nunes and Catarina Demony; Additional reports by Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Aislinn Laing and John Stonestreet

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