TWO cruise ship workers from India are reported to be self-isolating at a Southampton hotel after testing positive for Covid-19.

More than 30 people from India are understood to have arrived at Torquay, Devon, last week ahead of the 2021 cruise season.

Reports say two of them tested positive for coronavirus after taking pre-boarding tests and are self-isolating in Southampton.

Liners have been using the sheltered waters off Devon to anchor during the pandemic, which has resulted in cruises being cancelled.

But staff numbers have begun to increase as cruise companies prepare to restart holidays.

India has been badly affected by the pandemic with more than 300,000 cases a day and more than 200,000 deaths, with reports of hospitals overwhelmed and oxygen supplies running out.

It is on a ‘red list’ of countries which travel to the UK is banned, apart from a series of exemptions including one for sailors.

The workers were due to join the Marella Explorer, operated by holiday firm Tui.

Hundreds of other cruise workers are expected to arrive in Torbay to board the ships as they prepare to resume operations in the summer.

A Tui spokesperson said: “The health and safety of our customers and crew is always our highest priority and we can confirm that all crew members joining the Marella Explorer undertook and passed pre-departure PCR tests before flying to the UK.

“In line with strict industry protocols, additional antigen testing took place at the port for those joining the ship.

"All crew who passed the antigen tests were placed in onboard quarantine for ten days ahead of joining the rest of the ship’s company.

“Two crew members who did not meet boarding requirements are waiting for negative PCR test results before embarking Marella Explorer.”

Tui have not confirmed reports that the crew members are self-isolating in Southampton.