Viking installs first cruise ship Covid testing lab

What is being touted as the first Covid testing lab at sea has been installed on a Viking cruise ship.

The full-scale PCR laboratory on board 930-capacity Viking Star enables the line to test all crew and passengers on board with a non-invasive saliva test.

The laboratory has enough capacity for daily testing of every member of crew and passenger, “which provides flexibility to respond to Covid-19 prevalence levels around the world”.

The new on board facility allows for “unprecedented testing capacity” in the cruise industry.

The laboratory will undergo a series of extensive tests to ensure the procedures and protocols that have been designed are fully effective.

Viking will demonstrate the PCR laboratory, as well as new design and operating procedures, when Viking Star visits the Norwegian capital of Oslo in mid-November.

The company, which has a fleet of six ocean-going ships and a seventh due to launch in early 2021, was the first major line to suspend sailings with the outbreak of the pandemic in March.

Maritime operations vice president Matt Grimes said: “We have been working on this for a number of months, and today is important as it moves us one step closer to operating cruises again, without compromising the safety of our guests and crew.

“The recently announced CDC guidelines are clearly aligned with our public health research, and we welcome the agency’s push toward testing, as we believe this is the only way to safely operate.

“In our view, continuous PCR testing, along with our extensive onboard hygiene protocols, will lead to making Viking ships a safe place to get away to and explore the world.”

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