The Italian news agency ANSA and public broadcaster RAI reported this morning that a passenger from Hong Kong on the Costa Smeralda has been found to be showing symptoms (a fever) of what is suspected to be coronavirus. CNN reports that the 54 year old woman and her husband are now were being kept separately in solitary confinement on the Carnival Corporation-owned Costa cruise ship.
The Guardian reports that “more than 6,000 people have been prevented from disembarking from a cruise ship in the Italian port city of Civitavecchia after the liner was placed on lockdown over two suspected cases of the deadly coronavirus.”
#CostaSmeralda 6,000 people are being kept on board an Italian cruise ship as tests are carried out on two Chinese passengers suspected of having caught coronavirus, a company spokesman said (via @Reuters). https://t.co/jmFVI9AZG1
— Benjamin Alvarez (@BenjAlvarez1) January 30, 2020
The passenger flew on January 25th from Hong Kong with her husband to Milan, Italy and then traveled to Savona where they boarded the Costa Smeralda on January 26th and sailed to Barcelona and Palma on January 27th/28th. The ship called on Civitavecchia today.
A person infected with coronavirus can spread the spread the disease to others even though they feel well and are not exhibiting any symptoms. British epidemiologists are expecting infections to explode to 190,000 cases by as early as next week, according to the Washington Post.
Yesterday, we reported that several cruise lines are still refusing to cancel cruise to China and refund cruises, including Celebrity Cruises (Celebrity Millennium), Seabourn Cruises (Seabourn Ovation), NCL (Norwegian Jade) and Regent Seven Seas Cruises (Seven Seas Voyager).
The incubation period of the virus is reportedly 10-14 days. So it is virtually impossible to screen thousands of passengers who may board a cruise ship during embarkation.
The exponential explosion of the virus is causing cruise lines to lose many millions of dollars in profits. A equity manager recently told Yahoo Finance that every cancellation of a cruise is causing a loss of $3,000,000 to $4,000,000 in revenue. The mantra of “your health and safety is our highest priority” which cruise lines tell concerned customers wishing to cancel upcoming cruises seems dubious. Many cruise lines which refused refunds have seem mostly guided by efforts to maintain their profits rather than a genuine concern for the health of either their passengers or crew members.
Are you aware of any cruise ships which are still scheduled to cruise to Hong Kong or a port in mainland China?
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Update: Numerous people on Twitter are saying that the preliminary coronavirus tests on the two cruise passengers are negative. But I have not seen any “official” reports so far . . .
Photo credit: HenSti – CC BY-SA 4.0