(CNN) — Passengers from Australia and New Zealand will be evacuated from a cruise to the antarctic on Thursday, after almost 60% of those who were aboard were positive by coronavirus.
The Greg Mortimer, a cruise ship operated by Aurora Expeditions of Australia, broke the 15 of march on a trip to Antarctica and South Georgia. However, since the beginning of Aprilthe boat was moored off the coast of Uruguayafter that the authorities refused to allow passengers to desembarcaran due to the risk of coronavirus.
Of the 217 people on board 128 passengers and crew members have tested positive for the virus.
Six passengers who require specialized care were transferred to medical facilities in Montevideo. A video published on the internet for the navy of uruguay showed that they were transferred from one ship to another with full protective equipment.
However, the passengers of Europe and America who have tested positive for coronavirus must remain on board until they obtain a negative result, after which you can go through Brazil, said Aurora.
All passengers will be re-evaluated every two or three days, according to the website of the company.
In a statement earlier this month, Dawn reported that the ship’s doctor had developed a fever and that “we’re getting a voluntary medical support”. The cruise operator added that it had “intensified formally our request” to the uruguayan authorities to allow the ship to dock, saying, and that the passengers desembarcaran, but so far it has been denied.
Late Tuesday, the uruguayan government said that it authorized the evacuation of a flight doctor from passengers new zealanders and australians aboard the Greg Mortimer to the end of this week. The passengers will fly to Melbourne on Thursday on a plane chartered by Aurora, which will be subject to a mandatory quarantine for 14 days before heading to their final destinations.
“We have been working on charter flights and flights for everyone on board with the goal of landing our passengers as soon as possible,” he said Aurora in a press release.
“Although the ideal plan was to disembark all the passengers simultaneously, the nature of the situation and the difficulty to ensure the flights has led to that it is likely that passengers from Australia and New Zealand to abandon the boat before the europeans (including the Uk) and the americans.”
Ian Duddy, ambassador of the United Kingdom in Uruguay, said on Twitter that “we maintain a close contact with the uruguayan government, the cruise operator (and) the passengers from the Uk aboard the Greg Mortimer”.
“Several passengers tested positive for covid-19. We continue to explore ways for the passengers to deplane in compliance with all the health protocols,” he added.
The uruguayan government did not comment on when or if the passengers could disembark this week.
Cruise ship trapped
More than a dozen cruise ships have been trapped in the sea due to the pandemic coronavirusbecause several countries refused to allow docking of the passenger-carrying infected people.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia he pointed out this month that was in direct contact with 10 cruise ships that carry about 600 passengers australians on board.
“In most cases, the landing may not occur unless the passengers have flight arrangements and can travel directly to the airport via a so-called runner’s health, established by the host countries,” said the DFAT said in a statement.
The situation onboard the ships quickly turned from vacation to nightmare for the passengers, many of whom were booked and paid for the travel long before the virus began to spread late last year.
Jay Martinez, a passenger on board the cruise ship in the South Pacific, Norwegian Jewel, he told CNN this week he and his wife had “doubts” on board the ship and considered to amend their plans, but told them that there was no option.
“From then until the day that we went, that was not an option, “ said Martinez. “And because we invest so much money on our honeymoon, we had no other option than to board the ship.”
Last month, the International Association of Cruise Lines (CLIA), an industry group whose members represent more than 95% of the world capacity of cruise ships, discontinued operations from the ports of the U.S. for 30 days.
In a statement, CLIA reported that nearly 14% of its fleet, about 30 ships were still at sea. “Our members are focused on bringing these ships back to port safely as soon as they can,” he added.
Often it is required that the boats that dock will remain in place for quarantines, prolonged before passengers can disembark. However, has questioned the effectiveness of such measures in the borders close to a boat not designed for medical examinations, particularly in the case of the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship that was quarantined in the port japanese of Yokohama in February.
Francesca Street and Anna Kam CNN contributed to this report.