Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
Workers on Nile cruise ships are quitting their jobs after 45 passengers and crew members were confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus on one of the boats.
The Egyptian authorities quarantined the A-Sara Nile cruise ship, which operated in Upper Egypt, with over 150 tourists on board on 6th March at site 20 kilometres from the city of Luxor.
Reports confirm 45 passengers and crew members have been confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 and the unnamed director of another Nile cruise ship operated by the same company as the quarantined vessel said: “[Some] staff members want to leave [their job] and there are resignations. They are hearing what’s happening and they fear for themselves and their families. (sic)”
An unnamed manager of another cruise ship in the era has stated for local media: “We have seen at least five or six of our colleagues on neighbouring cruises resigning. Because there are foreigners [aboard], people are afraid to be infected. (sic)”
Ahmed Kamel, a receptionist on another cruise ship in Luxor, said two crew members had resigned over the past few days, “because they were afraid to get infected. (sic)”
Egypt’s Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed visited the city of Luxor on Sunday to inspect the quarantine measures and said: “Those working in tourism and their families, I’m telling you we’re monitoring things closely and you are safe with us, and together we can get through this time.”
Egypt’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism, and the winter months are peak season in the ancient cities of Luxor and Aswan.
Mostafa Sayed, travel manager at Cairo-based tourist firm Nile Cruisers, which runs Nile trips to Luxor, stated for local media that about 25 percent of trips booked to the popular winter destination had been cancelled over the past few days.
Meanwhile in Hurgada, the Egyptian government confirmed the death of a 60-year-old German tourist as the first death in the country from the virus. There are 55 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Egypt.
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