At least 26 US tourists are being held in quarantine for 14 days aboard a River Nile cruise ship in Egypt.
Scores of foreign visitors and Egyptian crew remain quarantined on board the ship from which 45 suspected coronavirus cases have been evacuated.
US, French and Indian nationals are among those stranded near the southern tourist city of Luxor.
The Americans that are held are all part of the same tour group and were in the middle of a 12-day vacation in Egypt.
Health officials wearing protective suits sit in front of the River Anuket cruise ship where 45 people on board were diagnosed with coronavirus, in Luxor, Egypt
Health officials check temperature of people on board a cruise ship, in Luxor, Egypt today. It is not known if this image was taken on the the MS Asara
They had already seen the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx and had boarded the luxury ship, the MS Asara, for a Nile cruise.
When they arrived in Luxor on Friday they learned that 12 Egyptian workers on their boat had tested positive for the virus that causes covid-19 during a previous cruise.
At least three of the Americans are suspected of testing positive for the virus, according to passengers aboard the ship.
‘I’m terribly afraid that there’s no assurance we won’t get sick at some point,’ Amy Khamissian, 65, a paralegal from Miami told The Top 10 News.
Egyptian authorities had Saturday reported moving 45 suspected cases – 33 passengers and 12 crew – into isolation on land, without specifying what happened to the others aboard.
Egyptian health ministry emergency responders stand next to ambulances ready on the scene to transport suspected COVID-19 coronavirus disease cases that were detected on the Nile cruise ship
Health officials screen the temperature of workers on a Nile cruise ship near Luxor, Egypt. It is not known if this image was taken on the the MS Asara or not
The ship was carrying 171 people – 101 foreigners and 70 Egyptian crew – Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli told reporters on Saturday.
Egypt on Sunday reported the country’s – and Africa’s – first death from the virus, a 60-year-old German tourist who died in a Red Sea resort in eastern Egypt.
Until late last week Egypt had reported just three cases of the novel coronavirus, at a time when France and other countries had reported suspected cases among travellers returning from the north African country.
On Monday, Egypt’s health ministry said the total number of known cases had risen to 55.
Khamissian and another Miami resident, Javier Parodi, 35, a building inspector, were told they tested negative on Saturday night, hours after they had been instructed to stay in their cabins.
Tourists visit the Karnak Temple Complex in Egypt’s southern city of Luxor today, despite the cases confirmed nearby
Their guide had told them that one American in their group had tested positive.
‘Everything was normal, and now things are taking a turn to the not so normal,’ Parodi said.
US embassy spokesman Sam Werberg in Cairo said ‘we are in the process of making contact with all American passengers’.
At least three of the Americans are suspected of testing positive for the virus, according to passengers aboard the ship (pictured)
On Saturday they tweeted a statement on their official account that read: ‘The Embassy has been informed that there are U.S. citizens on a Nile Cruise ship on which 12 crew members tested positive for the coronavirus.
‘The Embassy is working to provide consular services and assistance, in coordination with the Egyptian government.’
Maryland’s governor said that three travelers from Montgomery Country tested positive for the virus after returning to the US from a trip on the same cruise.
As many as 28 tourists, from the United States, Greece, France and Canada, have tested positive for the virus after visiting Egypt in recent weeks. Some of them were on Nile cruises, but it’s unclear whether they were all related to the MS Asara.
As many as 28 tourists, from the United States, Greece, France and Canada, have tested positive for the virus after visiting Egypt in recent weeks. Some of them were on Nile cruises, but it’s unclear whether they were all related to the MS Asara (pictured)
A man wearing a protective health mask walks past moored river ships along the bank of the Nile in Egypt’s southern city of Luxor
Egypt’s Health Minister Hala Zayed inspects moored river boats along the coast of the Nile in Luxor yesterday
When the MS Asara arrived in Luxor on Friday, the group’s travel company, Gate 1, sent the American passengers a letter saying the CDC personnel had informed them of ‘possible exposure’ to the coronavirus on the ship.
The CDC asked for names and contacts of Gate 1 passengers aboard the ship, according to the letter obtained by The Washington Post.
Matt Swider, a technology journalist from New York was taken from the ship to hospital. He said: ‘I am feeling fine. Others around me seem mildly ill.’
It comes as workers on Nile cruise ships are quitting their jobs after the confirmed infections.