A cruise ship Costa Victoria, operated by Costa Cruises, arrived in Heraklion, Crete yesterday on its way to coronavirus ravaged Italy. According to news from Australian newspaper Courier Mail, this ship had one passenger with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
An unnamed 63-year old female Argentinian passenger was tested when the ship docked in Heraklion, and officials placed the entire ship in lockdown afterward. According to the reports, the passenger is now being treated at the ICU unit of Venizelio Hospital of Heraklion.
The ship, the Costa Victoria is due to dock in Venice, Italy on the 28th carrying hundreds of Australian passengers who are pleading with officials to return them to their homeland. Many of the ports the ship was scheduled to disembark passengers from have refused the ship. Greece closed all ports to ships to and from Italy as of last week. The worldwide list of closed borders is available from Al Jazeera.
There are many elderly passengers on board the Costa Victoria, a fact which calls into question the cruise line’s policies with regard to sailings in the midst of such a pandemic. The Costa Victoria sailed from Mumbai, India on the last day of February, on a voyage through two other Indian ports, the Maldives, Oman, Israel, Jordan, three ports in Greece, and two more in Croatia before docking in Italy. The following is a notice from Cruise Mapper, regarding the cruise lines’ most recent update:
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Costa Cruises partially suspended its fleet’s passenger shipping operations by canceling all Italy-visiting voyages with pre-scheduled departures in the period March 9 through April 3, 2020. All affected bookings received full refunds, including on prepurchased through Costa Cruises packages and services.
The Mail Online reports that passengers on board the ship are in a panic over being forced to leave the ship in Italy, where the death toll on account of the coronavirus has now exceeded China’s.
The cruise industry has been devastated by the pandemic as more and more countries wake up to the full impact of COVID-19. Greece has been one of the most proactive governments with regard to precautions taken to restrict the spread of the viral epidemic.