Seven guests on the Costa Diadema tested positive for COVID-19 after leaving the ship, according to the Italian newspaper Il Secolo XIX.
The newspaper reports that the Italian health authorities requested that all crew members on the Costa Diadema undergo swab testing earlier this week after the ship was in Genoa. The request from the health authorities “came after seven passengers already disembarked in Palermo tested positive for coronavirus in recent days.”
The newspaper explains that the passengers left the ship and then tested positive for the virus notwithstanding the fact that all passengers are required to undergo what it called “swab testing” performed “before boarding and then once the cruise is over.”
The Costa cruise ship then set sail on a Mediterranean itinerary after the tests of the crew members were reportedly negative. However, today Costa announced that it decided to prematurely terminate the current cruise of the Costa Diadema “in consideration of the epidemiological situation in France.” There was no mention of the former passengers who previously tested positive for COVD-19.
Ship Mag reports that Costa is operating the Costa Diadema on behalf of an undisclosed French tour operator, with only French passengers on board. Costa stated that “The ship is currently underway to return directly to Genoa, the port of arrival of the itinerary, where it is expected to dock on Friday 16 October.”
The Medi Telegraph also reported that “the Costa Diadema cruise ship, chartered by the company to a French tour operator, is returning to Genoa from the port of Naples” due to the “epidemiological situation in France.”
Costa did not provide a further explanation what it meant by the phrase “epidemiological situation in France.” However, data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resources Center, the leading authority on the pandemic, shows that France is experiencing a surge of new COVID-19 cases. Italy, for that matter, is also showing a spike in new cases involving the virus.
U.S. based cruise lines are in the process of trying to convince the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that it is safe to resume cruising from U.S. ports. Yet, the majority of states in the U.S. are showing an increase in COVID-19 cases. Of course, the U.S. has a substantially higher number of cases than either France or Italy, both in total numbers and on a per capita basis.
The bottom line is that it remains dangerous to even consider non-essential travel and congregating on a cruise ship during this deadly pandemic.
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October 16, 2020 Update: Several newspapers in Italy report that a passenger who tested positive for COVID-19 on the Costa Diadema was disembarked in Naples, Italy, before the ship returned to Genoa. Docotrs repotedly states that the patient has a fever, and at least one newspaper says are “mild” symptoms which are “worrying” and “serious.” This raises the issue whether Costa has been transparent in releasing information about the outbreak of the virus. Read: Costa Diadema: Passenger with COVID-19 Disembarked in Naples, Italy.
Photo credit: Top – Costa Diadema – Z Thomas – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia.; middle – Costa Diadema – Ship Mag.