One of the largest cruise ships operating in the Mediterranean has become the latest to be hit by a Covid outbreak amid the current global surge in virus cases.
MSC Cruises confirmed 45 Covid positive passengers disembarked from its MSC Grandiosa vessel in the Italian port of Genoa on Monday — fewer than 1% of those on board. The vessel was ferrying 4,813 passengers and crew members on a round trip from Civitavecchia-Rome, with scheduled stop offs in Malta and Barcelona over the New Year.
All MSC Cruises crew members and passengers over the age of 12 are required to be fully vaccinated, while all travelers aged 2 and over must submit a predeparture negative test. In a statement provided to CNN, MSC Cruises denied Italian media reports of a much higher number of Covid positive cases on board. The cruise line said the identification and removal of the sick passengers demonstrated its health and safety protocol — which also includes the wearing of face masks in indoor public areas — was working.
MSC Cruises said positive passengers and their close contacts were “immediately isolated in cabins with balconies.” “In line with the protocol, we organize transportation back home, all done in alignment with the relevant health and other authorities,” said MSC Cruises’ statement. Crew members on board MSC Grandiosa were said to have been tested every two days, while passengers were tested at the beginning and in the middle of the voyage. Passengers were also set to be tested at the journey’s end.