Russia’s stricken Arctic workers moved to cruise ship

The port of Murmansk, in northern Russia, has responded to a coronavirus outbreak at a mega Arctic construction project by moving some of those affected to a cruise ship, according to a statement by the governor of Murmansk province.

In mid-April, more than 200 workers tested positive at a shipyard being built by contractor Velesstroy for LNG company Novatek.

The total had climbed to 1,079 workers by Friday, 1 May, prompting the action by Governor Andrei Chibis.

The workers, who were staying at the village of Belokamenka, were working on a project connected to Novatek’s $20bn LNG production complex on Russia’s Arctic coast.

Crowded conditions in the village, where some 10,000 workers were quartered, have led to almost 90 new cases a day since the outbreak began.

Infected workers will be transferred to the cruise ship Princess Anastasia (pictured), which can carry 2,500 people.

"The liner is on its way to Murmansk … so that there are additional capacities for placing people," he said in a briefing streamed on the internet and reported by Agence France Presse.

The ship was sent from Gdansk last week to Belokamenka on 27 April and arrived at the site on Saturday, 2 May.   

Despite the outbreak, work is continuing at the site. Chibis said: "We have not stopped because the project is of principal importance for the economy of the region and the entire country."

Russia has reported a surge in cases, which reached 145,268 today, with 1,356 deaths.

Among those infected are Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Minister of Construction Vladimir Yakushev and his deputy Dmitry Volkov.

Image: Princess Anastasia at port of St Petersburg (Dreamstime)

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