In preparation for a return to cruising next year, Viking has created the position of chief health officer.

The company said it has hired  Dr. Raquel Bono, a board-certified trauma surgeon and retired vice admiral of the U.S. Navy Medical Corps to oversee its Covid-19 safety protocols.

Bono partnered with Viking earlier this year to help develop its initial Covid-19 response.  She also led Washington State's pandemic response team.

Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking, said her background makes her "uniquely qualified to be our chief health officer as we finalize plans for operating cruises safely.

"We are proud to officially welcome Dr. Bono to the Viking family, and we will soon be sharing more details about the Viking Health & Safety Program, which we believe is one of the most well-researched and comprehensive Covid-19 prevention and mitigation plans in the travel industry," Hagen said.

Viking also recently announced it was the first cruise line to complete the installation of a full-scale PCR testing laboratory at sea. In the coming months, Viking said it would install PCR laboratories on the remainder of its ocean ships and is developing a strong network of shoreside laboratories for its river ships.

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