Italy has given the green light to Costa and AIDA  to resume cruising from Italian ports this month. Meanwhile, the number of positive COVID-19 cases on Costa cruise ships in Italy increased to nine this weekend, according to the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero. The Costa Deliziosa (below right) has four crew members with positive COVID-19 cases; the Costa Favoalosa (top) has five crew members  who tested positive for the virus.

The number of COVID-19 positive crew cases on the Costa Deliziosa cruise ship increased from two, reported a week ago, to four crew members. The newspaper reports that the additional crew members infected with the virus are part of a group of Filipinos who were supposed to be involved in the re-start operations.

The newspaper explains that new crew members who are expected to part of the re-start operations are “tested and kept in solitary confinement for fifteen days.” However, two Costa employees on the Costa Deliziosa were found positive and immediately transferred to a hospital in Spallanzani, Italy. The remaining crew members were placed in solitary confinement in their cabins. Quarantine measures were imposed and the crew members were not permitted to get on and off the ship.

Il Messaggero also reported that five crew members (up from one reported last week) on the Costa Favolosa tested positive for the virus and were kept in isolation. The newspaper states that the Costa Favolosa also “remains stuck on the dock” due to the positive COVID-19 cases.

A week ago, we reported that a total of three Filipino Costa crew members tested positive from the Costa Favolosa and Costa Deliziosa.

The increased number of positive crew tests comes at a time when Italy has given permission to Costa and MSC Cruises to resume their cruise operations. The lines have announced their new protocols designed to respond to the COVID pandemic. MSC’s protocols include COVID-19 swab tests of the passengers and plans to operate its first ship, the 4,842-passenger MSC Grandiosa, beginning as early as August 16th, at an occupancy of 70% according to The Points Guy. The ship will sail seven-night voyages out of Genoa to Civitavecchia, Naples and Palermo in Italy; and Valletta, Malta. A second MSC Cruises ship, the 2,550-passenger MSC Magnifica, will sail out of Italy on August 29th with seven-night cruises from the ports of Bari and Trieste to the Greek ports of Corfu, Katakolon and Piraeus.

When we posted the news on our Facebook page that cruising on Costa and MSC cruise ships would shortly re-start from Italy to ports in the Mediterranean, many felt that this was a prudent development in light of the new protocols recently announced by Costa (which you can read here) and MSC (available here). MSC Cruises is the first cruise line to announce protocols which include peerforming  rapid COVID-19 test of every passenger just before boarding on the day of departure. Popular travel blogger Gene  Sloan tweeted about the resuming of cruising by Costa and MSC, which in my estimation, will undoubtedly lead to additional outbreaks of COVID-19.

Crew members are understandably eager to return to work on the ships and support their families. However, an equal number of people believe that it is too soon to be resuming cruising and the cruise lines are being greedy and reckless resuming vacation cruises during a pandemic.

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Photo credits: Costa Favolosa –  Hannes Grobe – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia;  Costa Deliziosa – Drdoht – CC0, commons / wikimedia.