Hundreds of people who last week traveled on a cruise between the capital cities of Finland and Estonia may have been exposed to the coronavirus.
The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) confirmed in a statement released on Monday that "several cases" have been found of passengers of Silja Line's Europa boat who later tested positive. At least one of them spent long periods of time in the common areas, such as the nightclub, where travelers usually gather.
According to THL, the cruise departed from Helsinki to Tallinn on Tuesday 30 June at 18:30 and left the Estonian capital on 1 July at 12:30.
"There was a person with mild symptoms on Silja Europa's cruise to Tallinn between 30 June and 1 July, who spent longer periods of time in the public spaces of the ship. Because of this, other passengers might have been exposed to the disease," the health agency said.
Helsinki health officials said some of the people who entered in contact with the infected person have been identified and quarantined. However, the infected person moved around the vessel so much that they are not able to identify all of them.
According to THL, several other passengers who traveled in the same boat also tested positive for Covid-19. But "in general, these persons avoided moving around on the ship and the big crowds, so they have had few close contacts, or the ones exposed have been possible to recognize, contact and put in quarantine."
Where you on board?
Health authorities have not disclosed specific information on how much people traveled in the cruise. However, Silja Europa is one of the largest cruise ferries in the world, with capacity for more than 3,100 passengers and 400 vehicles.
Finnish health authorities have appealed to everyone who traveled on the cruise to monitor their health and seek medical assistance in case symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath develop.
"If you were a passenger on one of these departures, we recommend you to observe any possible symptoms of the coronavirus," THL says.
"Even if you have mild symptoms, contact the health care with a low threshold, so you can be tested and get further instructions," the health agency stressed.