Cruise ship on Egypt’s Nile River quarantined as 12 coronavirus cases detected

Nile river boat MS River Anuket docks in the city of Luxor in southern Egypt Saturday, March 7, 2020. (AP)

A cruise ship on Egypt's Nile River with over 150 tourists and local crew was in quarantine Saturday in the southern city of Luxor, after 12 people tested positive for the new coronavirus.

A Taiwanese-American tourist who had previously been on the same ship tested positive when she returned to Taiwan. The World Health Organization informed Egyptian authorities, who tested everyone currently on the ship.

Health authorities found a dozen of the ship's Egyptian crew members had contracted the fast-spreading virus, but did not show symptoms, according to a statement Friday.

The statement said the 12 will be transferred to isolation in a hospital on Egypt's north coast. The passengers — who include Americans, French, and other nationalities — and the crew will remain quarantined on the ship awaiting further test results.

Egyptian authorities have been tight-lipped about the virus outbreak, previously reporting only three confirmed cases. That's even as the wider Mideast now has over 6,000 confirmed cases.

In hard-hit Iran, the Health Ministry said Saturday that 21 more people had died from the virus, bringing the death toll to 145. More than 1,000 infections were also confirmed overnight, bringing the total to 5,823 cases nationwide.

The ship, carrying some 100 mostly foreign tourists is under quarantine after 12 people tested positive for the new coronavirus. (AP)

The ship, carrying some 100 mostly foreign tourists is under quarantine after 12 people tested positive for the new coronavirus. (AP)

Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 16,000 cases were hospitalized across the country, with some still being tested or monitored to see if they had contracted the virus. The capital of Tehran had the most infections, with more than 1,500 cases, followed by the Shia holy city of Qom with 668 and the northern Mazandaran province with 606 cases.

Among the dead was Fatemeh Rahabar, a 55-year-old newly elected lawmaker who passed away in Tehran, the state-run IRNA news agency reported Saturday. She'd been elected to the next parliament that begins work in May. Earlier this week, Iranian lawmaker Abdolreza Mesri told state television that 23 members in the current parliament had the coronavirus, and urged all lawmakers to avoid the public.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:02 - GMT 07:02
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