Warning as Tallinn cruise passengers exposed to coronavirus

Public health officials say that some people on board who were exposed to the infected person have already been put into quarantine.

File picture of Tallink Silja Europa ship / Credit: Tallink Silja

Authorities are urging anyone who took a Silja Europa cruise to Tallinn from 30th June to 1st July to get a Covid-19 test even if they develop even mild coronavirus-like symptoms.

The warning from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL comes after several passengers tested positive for the virus after taking the cruise, which left Helsinki at 18:30 last Tuesday, and then made the return trip from Tallinn departing the next day at 12:30.

Anyone who took the trip is being advised to monitor symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath – especially if they later attended an event with a number of other people.

“The key thing is that it was not an outbreak. It was just one person who had symptoms during the cruise, and who was diagnosed with coronavirus afterwards” explains Timo Lukkarinen, Head of Health Centres for the City of Helsinki.

“Some of the people who were in contact with the person have been identified and they had strong exposure, and they’re now in quarantine. But there were other people who might have been in contact as this person was walking around the ship, and we just want to let people know about it, especially if they were on the cruise” Doctor Lukkarinen tells News Now Finland.

Even though the cruise took place a week ago, someone who might have been exposed to Covid-19 on board may not yet be showing any symptoms.

“The latency period is around two weeks maximum. So within one week about 70% of people get symptoms, and at ten days it’s already 90% and after two weeks 99% of people who contract the virus will get symptoms” Lukkarinen says.

Health officials say that although most people do tend to be aware of social distancing advice, in this case the person with coronavirus on board the ship did go to some social areas where a wider circle of people might have come into contact with them.