The Government of Norway announced Monday it was banning all cruise ships with more than 100 passengers from docking in Norwegian harbours.
The ban will be in place for 14 days and only applies to cruise ships, not ferry boats.
Health Minister Bent Hoeie said the situation aboard the Hurtigruten ship served as “the background” for the decision.
Police in Norway said they would open an investigation to find out whether any laws had been broken.
It’s not yet clear how the MS Roald Amundsen outbreak began.
NTB reported that 33 of the infected crew members came from the Philippines and the others came from Norway, France and Germany. The passengers were from all over the world.
The Hurtigruten cruise line apologized Monday for procedural errors after a coronavirus outbreak on one ship infected at least 5 passengers and 36 crew members.
Health authorities fear the ship also could have spread the virus to dozens of towns and villages along Norway’s western coast.
The confirmed virus cases from the MS Roald Amundsen raise new questions about safety on all cruise ships during a pandemic even as the devastated cruise ship industry is pressing to resume sailings after chaotically shutting down in March.
According to ABC, 41 people on the MS Roald Amundsen who tested positive for Covid-19 have been admitted to the University Hospital of North Norway in Tromsoe, north of the Arctic Circle, where the ship is docked.
“A preliminary evaluation shows that there has been a failure in several of our internal procedures,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said in a statement.
It has contacted passengers who sailed on the MS Roald Amundsen for the July 17-24 and the July 25-31 trips from Bergen to of Svalbard. The ship had 209 guests on the first voyage and 178 guests on the second.
But since the cruise line often acts like a local ferry, traveling from port to port along Norway’s western coast, the virus may not have been contained onboard. Some passengers disembarked along the route and may have spread the virus to their local communities.
A total of 69 municipalities in Norway could have been affected, Norwegian news agency NTB reported.
The city of Tromsoe is urging anyone who traveled on the ship or had any contact with it to get in touch with health authorities.