Cruise ship on Nile River Quarantined Over New Virus Cluster

A cruise ship on Egypt’s Nile River with more than 150 tourists and local crew was in quarantine Saturday in the southern city of Luxor, after 12 people tested positive for the new coronavirus, authorities said.

A Taiwanese-American tourists who had previously been on a same boat tested positive when she returned to Taiwan. The World Health Organization informed Egyptian authorities, who tested everybody on the ship.

Health authorities found twelve of the ship’s Egyptian crew members had contracted the fast spreading-virus, but didn’t show any sign, as per a joint statement from Egypt’s Health Ministry and the WHO on Friday.

The statement said the 12 will be moved to isolation in a hospital on Egypt’s north coast. The passengers – who include Americans, French, and other nationalities – and the team will remain quarantined on the ship awaiting further test results.

As per The Associated Press, the 12 infected crew were isolated on the third floor of the vessel away from the tourists, including two kids. The tourists were waiting for test results.

The trip began from Luxor, around 655 kilometers (405 miles) south of Cairo, on Sunday and the cruise ship, which includes 60 rooms, made three stops before arriving at Aswan. On the way back there were three additional stops, potentially expanding the number of individuals exposed to the virus.

The nation’s national air carrier, Egypt Air, has suspended direct flights to China since late January. The virus, which began in China, has infected in excess of 100,000 people worldwide.

The past three cases in Egypt were a Chinese and a Canadian national, then an Egyptian who was in Serbia and had remained for 12 hours in France before arriving in Cairo. Egyptian authorities said Friday that tests on more than 2,500 individuals returned negative for the virus.