Costa Cruises has confirmed that Costa Diadema’s current itinerary in the Mediterranean has been cancelled and the ship is returning to Genoa, Italy on Friday due to the threat of coronavirus cases onboard, reports ShipMag.
The move comes after seven passengers tested for coronavirus in the Port of Palermo were found to have the virus. They were tested while disembarking the ship at the end of their 7-night cruise.
Costa Cruises was informed by the Genoa Maritime Health authority on October 12th and asked to carry out precautionary swabs to the entire crew (the new group of passengers that had boarded the ship by that time were already tested prior to boarding).
The results of the crew swabs came back negative, but out of an abundance of caution, Costa Cruises has decided to cancel the current itinerary early. The cruise was being operated with French passengers for a French tour operator on charter.
“The highest responsibility and priority for Costa Cruises are compliance with regulations, environmental protection, health, safety and well-being of our guests, of the people and places we visit, and of our crew,” Costa Cruises told ShipMag in a statement.
“In consideration of the epidemiological situation in France, we have decided to prematurely terminate the Costa Diadema cruise, which Costa is operating on behalf of a French tour operator, with only French passengers on board,” it added.
“This responsible choice was made in order to allow passengers to return safely to their country of origin and to ensure the health of our crews and the communities we visit ”.
Costa Diadema will arrive in Genoa on Friday and will likely be subject to deep-cleaning and an investigation into how seven passengers were able to either contract COVID-19 aboard the previous cruise, or bring it aboard undetected.
Costa Cruises said that the itineraries scheduled for Costa Deliziosa and Costa Smeralda in the eastern and western Mediterranean will not be affected.
Costa Cruises is one of two cruise lines that have resumed limited services from Italian cruise ports, alongside MSC Cruises. Both lines have introduced strict health and safety procedures to counter the spread of coronavirus.
These include rapid testing of all passengers and crew, regular temperature checks, mandatory mask wearing, social distancing onboard and highly controlled shore excursions that eliminate contact with the public.
This is the first coronavirus scare for either cruise line since they returned to service several weeks ago.