PANAJI, (India): More than 2,000 people travelling on a cruise ship in Indian waters have been prevented from disembarking after a Covid outbreak on board, authorities said Monday.

The Empress set sail from Mumbai to the former Portuguese colony of Goa but was stopped by port authorities near its destination at the city of Vasco on Sunday after the infections were detected.

At least 66 people aboard the ship have tested positive for the virus, Eugene D’Souza, a pathologist at the nearby Victor Hospital, told AFP. “It has been decided those who have tested positive will be hospitalised or home quarantined,” he added.

Goa health minister Vishwajit Rane said Monday authorities were deciding whether to allow passengers to leave the ship, operated by Indian company Cordelia Cruises. The cruise industry worldwide is struggling to get back on its feet after voyages were halted at the start of the pandemic and several vessels were hit by outbreaks.

Goa’s expansive beaches and lush wilderness are popular destinations for overseas and local tourists. The area has seen steadily rising Covid numbers with an influx of visitors over the festive season.


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