A passenger of Austrian nationality, who had cruised on MSC Opera in the East Mediterranean from 17 to 28 February, tested positive for COVID-19, MSC Cruises said citing Austrian health authorities.
“The passenger returned directly to Austria through northern Italy on February 28 immediately after disembarking from his cruise in Genoa, Italy,” the cruise liner said.
The infection confirmation came as MSC Opera arrived in Piraeus, Greece, on March 4.
“We promptly informed the Greek Health Authorities about this reported case and asked for their guidelines. We requested at the same time that passengers, as a precautionary measure, remained on board while awaiting guidance from the local authorities,” MSC Cruises added.
“We shared with the local health authorities the ship’s full medical records as well as the medical and travel history records of the former Austrian passenger.”
As informed, the Greek health authorities gave MSC Opera permission to sail from Piraeus, Greece, and continue its journey to its next scheduled port in Corfu, Greece.
The company noted that no additional health measures were required to be taken and that the ship was sailing as planned.
“There are no passengers or crew members currently on board the ship who have reported any flu-like symptoms,” the company concluded.
The latest coronavirus scare comes as liner operators face colossal challenges to keep up with their itineraries and resume business operations.
Namely, over the past couple of months, cruise shipping companies have had to cancel numerous cruses in Asia due to the outbreak and are expected to see a drop in earnings as a result.
Furthermore, cruise ships are being subjected to considerable scrutiny especially in the aftermath of the Diamond Princess quarantine, which resulted in over 690 people being infected.
Port authorities across the board are resorting to precautionary measures and have denied port access and disembarkation of passengers from cruise ships on several occasions.
At the end of February, MSC Cruises’ ship Meraviglia was denied port access to Jamaica and Cayman Islands amid coronavirus fears.
The ship was later allowed to dock and disembark passengers in Cozumel, Mexico, after it was determined that two of its passengers had the flu.