Coronavirus: Egypt quarantines passengers from Nile cruise boat

Egypt's Health Ministry didn't reveal how many passengers from the affected cruise boat have been quarantined. Photo by STR/EPA-EFE

March 8 (UPI) — Officials in Egypt quarantined passengers from a cruise boat on the Nile river Saturday after 12 crew members tested positive for coronavirus.

Egyptian authorities were tipped off to the presence of the virus on the vessel after the World Health Organization said a dual Taiwanese-U.S. national tested positive after returning home from the cruise. The 12 crew members were asymptomatic.

Cruise officials docked the ship near Luxor to disinfect it.

COVID-19 has killed more than 3,400 people and infected over 100,000, mainly in China, as of Saturday morning, according to global data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Mainland China alone has 80,651 cases and 2,959 deaths, the global tracker shows.

The Chinese government this week placed a ban on the consumption of wild animals. The coronavirus outbreak has been linked to a wildlife market in Wuhan, China. It’s unclear which animal may have transferred the virus to humans.

South Korea, Iran, Italy, and Japan also have thousands of cases.

Outside of China, South Korea has the most cases with 7,041, according to the global tracker, and 44 deaths. Iran has 4,747 cases and 124 deaths. Italy has 4,636 cases and the most deaths outside China at 197 deaths. Japan has 1,045 cases, including 706 cases linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and 12 deaths.

Italian officials, who earlier this week closed all schools and universities in reaction to the outbreak, announced Saturday they will quarantine at least 10 million people in Lombardy and 11 provinces to the north and east of the country until at least April.

Italy’s co-ruling Democratic Party leader Nicola Zingaretti has tested positive for the coronavirus, and confirmed Saturday in a statement on Facebook that he is in self-isolation.

U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa reported Saturday a U.S. Navy sailor in Naples has tested positive for the virus, and has been restricted to their residence there.

EUCOM said military health officials were investigating who the sailor might have been in contact with to determine whether any other service members were exposed. Those who have had close contact with the sailor have been in self-isolation.

A former professional Denmark soccer player, Thomas Kahlenberg, who represented Denmark at the 2010 World Cup, has been quarantined after recently traveling to Amsterdam where he contracted the virus.

In Hong Kong, 17 people tried to escape quarantine and leave the city, but Immigration Department staff stopped them at the borders, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said Friday.

Pope Francis said he would make Sunday blessings through a streaming service inside the Vatican, instead of appearing in person at St. Peter’s Square because of the outbreak.


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