An Australian-owned cruise ship that has been in coronavirus lockdown off Uruguay has started disembarking its crew to quarantine in a hotel.


Australian cruise ship crew disembark in Uruguay : The crew of the Australian-owned cruise ship Greg Mortimer have started disembarking in Montevideo after being in virus lockdown off Uruguay for more than a month, the country’s foreign minister, Ernesto Talvi, says.

“Citizens can trust that the operation is being carried out with the maximum health guarantees for all,” Talvi said on Twitter.

“It is a moment of great joy,” he added.

More than 100 passengers from Australia and New Zealand were flown home from the Antarctic cruise ship in April, but the crew remained on board.

At least 35 of the more than 80 crew members have tested positive for Covid-19, according to Uruguayan media.

Fear of more infections and the crew’s growing despair prompted the authorities to allow them to disembark.

“A nightmare is over,” crew member Javier Alvarado told the daily El Pais.

The infected were taken by bus to a hotel, where they will be put under quarantine, according to the daily.

The group that tested negative was due to be taken to another hotel, where it was expected to be confined at least until Sunday.

The Greg Mortimer will stay moored in a closed port area, El Pais quoted Juan Curbelo, the president of the National Port Administration, as saying.

It will later be evaluated whether the ship can continue travelling to its original destination, Curbelo added. The Greg Mortimer was reportedly due to end its voyage in the Canary Islands.