More than 80 COVID-19 patients aboard a liner anchored off the coast of Uruguay

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(Montevideo) At least 80 passengers and crew members of an Australian liner, anchored for several days in off Montevideo, are contaminated with COVID – 19, according to the results of tests carried out by the health authorities locations released Monday.

Gabriela VAZ

France Media Agency

On Greg Mortimer , flying the flag of the Bahamas Islands and carrying some 200 passengers and crew members, has been blocked about twenty kilometers off the port of the Uruguayan capital for more than a week.

The Uruguayan authorities, who closed their borders due to the COVID pandemic – 19 , refused the ship the right to dock.

According to the Australian cruise company Aurora Expeditions, owner of the ship, tests at COVID – 19 were taken on board by local health authorities on Sunday.

For the time being, “81 passengers and crew members were tested positive” and “90 analysis results are still pending ”. The results should be known in “12 at 24 hours, “said the company in a statement.

Furthermore, “45 passengers and crew members were tested negative”, according to the same source.

The Uruguayan Ministry of Health had previously announced that “at least 60 passengers”, among the few 200 people on board were infected.

Six people “with a vital prognosis committed” were authorized to disembark and were hospitalized. According to local press reports, these are three Australians, two Filipinos and a Briton.

The rest of the crew and passengers, mostly Australians, New Zealanders and British, are confined to the ship, according to the Uruguayan Ministry of Health.

“There is a relatively high percentage of people infected, but only six required transfer to hospitals in Montevideo because their lives were in danger,” Uruguayan Foreign Minister Ernesto Talvi said on Sunday evening. , on local television Canal 10.

For the rest of the people who remained on board and “who are not carriers of the coronavirus, are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms”, the government is studying the possibility of setting up a “humanitarian corridor” allowing them to reach a plane to Australia, he continued.

Contamination in Ushuaia?

“We are in contact with the Australian government to try to ensure that this flight can take place as quickly as possible,” said Mr. Talvi.

On Sunday, around twenty doctors and laboratory technicians were dispatched to the ship to carry out the tests and provide assistance to the sick.

According to D r Sebastian Yancev, one of the doctors sent on board, the high rate of contamination could have been caused by the first measures taken on board the ship, in particular the placement in isolation of groups of people, some of whom could be asymptomatic.

“When we opened the cabin doors, our first surprise was to find people who were negative with patients who turned out to be positive,” the doctor told local channel 4.

According to him, the first contamination may have taken place in Ushuaia, a tourist port in the far south of Argentina, from where the ship sailed on 15 March, for a cruise in Antarctica and on the British island of South Georgia.

“The crew took a break in Ushuaia. They themselves think that the (contagion) could have taken place at that time, because in Ushuaia, there are a lot of transfers of passengers of many nationalities on different ships, “he added.

According to the Ministry of Health, the monitoring of those who remained on board will be done remotely.

“Each patient has their own phone number to call on their mobile phone” in the event of an emergency, Karina Rando, a doctor on the ministry’s coordination team, told reporters.

“There are many patients over 70 years, some of them have other diseases, cardiac and pulmonary. These patients could be rewarded tomorrow, even if they are doing well today, “she added.