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German cruise ship sails, hopes short-range virus thwarts virus

BERLIN (AP) – A German cruise ship is carefully testing the water amid the coronavirus pandemic, sailing for the first time since the industry closed months ago and using strict precautions to keep passengers and crew as safe as possible.

The cruise ship TUI “Mein Schiff 2” – literally “My Ship 2” – sails for a cruise over the weekend in the North Sea late Friday night, dpa agency reported.

Employment has been limited to 60% so that passengers can keep their distance from each other, but even this level has not been reached. The ship sails with 1

200 passengers on board compared to its normal 2900 capacity. It was not reported how many crews were also on board.

The ship sails from the northern port of Hamburg to Norway, and passengers will spend the weekend at sea without stopping before returning to Germany on Monday.

On board, passengers and crew must stand at a distance of 1.5 meters (5 feet) from each other or wear protective masks and they will not be able to be served at the ship’s sideboard. All passengers also had to fill out a health questionnaire before boarding and taking their temperatures.

After being closed for months, German cruise ship companies hope shorter, tightly controlled voyages will help restart the business that was devastated by the pandemic, leading the global voyage to a halt, forcing cruise companies to suspend operations. and crossed thousands of passengers and crew around the world.

From August 5, the cruise operator AIDA will depart from Hamburg with its first voyage since the end of the pandemic operations months ago, with the second departing on August 12 from Rostock and the third departing on August 16 from Kiel, dpa reported.

Germany is widely praised for its efforts to curb its coronavirus epidemic. It reported more than 206,000 infections, but saved deaths to 9,124 – just one-fifth of the deaths in Britain. Germany is now in the process of rebuilding its economy with strict guidelines for social distancing, the use of masks and personal hygiene measures.

U.S. health officials last week extended the U.S. ban on cruise ships until late September as coronavirus infections are on the rise in most U.S. states, including Florida, a popular departure destination for Caribbean cruises. The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, said the cruise industry had not yet controlled the transmission of the virus to its ships.

Dozens of coronavirus outbreaks have struck cruise ships, including the widespread diamond cruise ship Diamond Princess in Japan, which has seen 712 infections and 13 deaths.


Follow the coverage of the AP pandemic at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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