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Coronavirus Cases in Houston Linked to Nile River Cruise Ship

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By The Maritime Executive 03-09-2020 07:59:00

A cluster of 12 coronavirus cases in the Houston area has been linked to an outbreak aboard a cruise boat on Egypt's Nile River.

17 individuals recently returned to Houston after a river cruise on the Aswan-to-Luxor cruise vessel A'Sara. On March 5, the A'sara was quarantined due to confirmed COVID-19 exposure. Passengers who traveled on the cruise vessel from February 12 through March 5 may have been exposed to COVID-19, according to the Harris County Health Department. 

12 people in the Houston area have since tested positive, including one new individual identified Sunday. The new case, a female aged 60-70 years old, is from an unincorporated area outside of Houston. After testing performed by the county, she has been classified as a presumptive positive case pending confirmation by the CDC. She is in stable condition and has been quarantined. 

“This new case in Houston is not unexpected because it’s among the same group of international travelers associated with other cases in the Houston area,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in a statement. “There remains no evidence of community spread, no need to alter our normal activity in Houston and certainly no reason to let fear grip our lives.”

The county's epidemiologists are following up with everyone who returned from the cruise and with individuals who may have contact with them, the Harris County Public Health Department said in a statement.

According to AFP, there are about 80 passengers and crew who are still quarantined aboard the MS A'Sara. 45 others were evacuated from the vessel and quarantined in Luxor on Saturday, the BBC reported.