A cruise ship on which 66 of the over 2,000 people on board tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday has been sent back to Mumbai from a port in Goa, news agency PTI reported this morning. Several infected passengers refused to leave the cruise ship, Cordelia, for quarantine at a medical facility in Goa.
The infected passengers will stay on the ship, an official of a shipping agency told PTI. All the passengers were tested after a crew member was found positive on Sunday, an official said.
The ship was sent back to Mumbai – from where it had set sail for a New Year party – at 11.30 pm yesterday after 27 positive passengers refused to leave the cruise ship, shipping firm JM Baxi and Co operations manager Govind Pernulkar said.
“The ship had to be sent back after some of the passengers who tested positive refused to get admitted to a COVID-19 facility in Goa. Only six crew members out of the total 66 who tested positive left the cruise in Goa,” Mr Pernulkar said.
He said that after considering the situation, the south Goa district administration ordered that the ship along with all the passengers be sent back to Mumbai. “The passengers who were shifted to an isolation facility were brought back to the ship before it sailed for Mumbai. The passengers would be isolated on the ship,” he said.
The cruise ship was carrying a large crowd of passengers who came to celebrate the New Year amid the Omicron threat. Cordelia is the same cruise ship raided by Narcotics Control Bureau officials last year over an alleged drugs bust in a case in which actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan, among others, were named.
Beaches in the coastal state popular with tourists teemed with a sea of people during the New Year, leading to concerns that it would lead to a massive spike in COVID-19 cases. Already, COVID-19 cases have been rising in neighbouring Maharashtra and other states like Delhi.
The first COVID-19 hotspot in a cruise ship was on board Diamond Princess, which was quarantined by Japan in January 2020 when COVID-19 had started sweeping across nations. Over 700 people on board the cruise ship had tested positive.