Mauritius halts cruise ship due to cholera outbreak

Mauritius refused entry to the Norwegian Dawn cruise ship due to concerns about a potential cholera outbreak among passengers. Samples were taken for testing after approximately 15 individuals onboard showed symptoms. The UN reports cholera cases across southern Africa, with South Africa alone documenting over 1,000 cases in the past two years.

Mauritius has refused entry to a Norwegian cruise ship, the Norwegian Dawn, at Port Louis amid concerns of a possible cholera outbreak among passengers. Approximately 15 individuals aboard the ship have been isolated due to suspected illness. Mauritian officials cited health risks as the reason for denying the ship entry. Samples were collected on Sunday for testing, and results are anticipated by Tuesday.

Passengers aboard the Norwegian Dawn exhibited mild symptoms of a stomach illness during their voyage to South Africa, according to a representative from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. Mary Francovilla Dees, 69, a passenger, described the atmosphere on the ship as relatively calm despite the delay. She mentioned that passengers have been engaging in various activities such as sitting by the pool, attending shows, and visiting the bar. Another passenger, speaking to BN DeStem, reported being informed by the captain about the possibility of a cholera outbreak on board. While South Africa is experiencing a cholera outbreak, it is not as severe as in neighbouring countries like Zambia.

Since January 2023, the UN reports that approximately 188,000 individuals have contracted cholera across seven countries in southern Africa, resulting in over 3,000 deaths. South Africa alone has documented 1,076 cholera cases and at least 47 fatalities in the past two years, according to the Africa Centres for Diseases Control and Prevention.
The Mauritius Ports Authority emphasized the top priority of safeguarding both passenger health and the nation’s well-being.
The Norwegian Dawn arrived in Mauritius on Saturday evening, a day earlier than scheduled due to bypassing Réunion Island. The ship carries 2,184 passengers and 1,026 crew members. Around 2,000 passengers were slated to disembark in Port Louis, with another 2,000 expected to board simultaneously.
Passengers who were either disembarking or boarding the cruise ship will now do so on February 27, as confirmed by a spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line.