The Finnish health authorities warn of the spread of the coronavirus onboard cruise ships

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare – the country’s health board – is warning people of the spread of the novel coronavirus onboard cruise ships, including the ones that sail between the Finnish capital, Helsinki, and the Estonian capital, Tallinn.

The Finnish “health authorities know about several cases where a person has travelled on a cruise ship and afterwards been diagnosed with the coronavirus infection”, the institute said in a statement, dated 6 July. 

“In general, these persons have avoided moving around on the ship and big crowds, so they have had few close contacts, or the ones exposed have been possible to recognise, contact and put in quarantine. In these situations, there is a small risk of infection for those who have not been in close contact.”

“However, there was a person with mild symptoms on Silja Europa’s cruise to Tallinn between 30 June and 1 July, who spent longer periods of time in the public spaces of the ship. Because of this, other passengers might have been exposed to the disease.” The Silja Europa cruise left Helsinki on Tuesday, 30 June at 6:30 PM, and Tallinn on Wednesday, 1 July at 12:30 PM, the Finnish health board said.

“If you were a passenger on one of these departures, we recommend you to observe any possible symptoms of the coronavirus, which are e.g. a fever and/or a cough and/or shortness of breath.” The authorities say that even if one is experiencing mild symptoms, one should contact their health-care specialists to get tested.

Peculiarly, at the time of writing this, the Estonian Health Board hadn’t beeped a word about this possible source of exposure and the spread of the novel coronavirus on cruise ships. The latest news item on the Estonian Health Board’s website was, at the time of writing this, dated 1 July.

Cover: Silja Europe cruise ship. Photo by Pjotr Mahhonin, shared under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

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