Covid-19 breaks out on cruise ship bound for Antarctica

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Nearly 60% of 217 people – many from Australia, Europe and the US – onboard a cruise ship off the coast of Uruguay have tested positive for the coronavirus, the ship’s operator said on Tuesday.

“There are currently no fevers on board and all are asymptomatic,” said Aurora Expeditions, the Australian operator of the Greg Mortimer ship that is working to disembark the crew and passengers and arrange flights to their home countries.

The Greg Mortimer departed March 15 on a voyage to Antarctica and South Georgia that was titled In Shackleton’s Footsteps, a reference to the polar explorer who led British expeditions to the region and died there in 1922.

Of 217 people tested on the vessel, 128 were positive for the virus that causes the disease and 89 tested negative, Aurora Expeditions said.

Another six people who were evacuated from the ship are in stable condition and being treated in Montevideo.

Australian passengers, and possibly those from New Zealand, are likely to fly home on Thursday or Friday.

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