Nile Cruise ships seen as significant source of Florida Covid-19 outbreak

Nile river boat River Anuket, which docked in the city of Luxor in southern Egypt on March 7th, had been carrying some 100 mostly foreign tourists, 12 of whom had tested positive for novel coronavirus.

On the same day the US embassy in Egypt announced that 45 people aboard a cruise ship en route to Egypt’s southern tourist hub Luxor had tested positive for Covid-19. The Florida Department of Health immediately urged anyone who had travelled on a Nile River cruise in February to self-isolate upon their return to the US.

However, there are fears that this warning did not come in time, and that infections from the River Nile have been the cause of a number of cluster events in Florida.

Governor Ron DeSantis said last week at a press conference in Miami that 10 of the state’s then 34 confirmed coronavirus patients had recently travelled on a Nile cruise.

DeSantis said that “our health officials talked with the CDC, and they noticed that there were some people throughout the country who had also been on there, so the Florida Department of Health put out an advisory. And a number of people in Florida and beyond who were on Nile River cruises recently presented with symptoms”.

The New York Post noted a dozen cases in Texas, plus handfuls in Maryland and California, that were linked to Nile cruises. Health officials in Canada have also linked infections to Nile cruises.

One Nile cruise that generated attention was MS A’Sara, a 236-foot river boat operated by Egyptian company Extension Group. A Miami man cruising with family aboard the A’Sara on Tuesday told the Associated Press they were quarantined in their cabin.