Hard times for cruise passengers and beyond. After the fall of the cruise ship stranded in Genoa a few days ago with over 100 positives on board, another bad news comes from Hong Kong for those who love to travel the world on big ships.
In fact, thousands of people have been stranded on Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas, a cruise ship currently based in the waters of the former Chinese colony. The lockdown was decided by local health authorities after nine holidaymakers on board were found to have come in contact with a positive result before departure. The ship, which left “for nowhere” on Sunday, was ordered to turn back a day early and detain all passengers and crew for carpet tests. The national carrier said in a statement that the nine guests were immediately isolated and the company is working closely with authorities to comply with epidemic prevention guidelines and regulations.
In Hong Kong, too, authorities last week blocked several residential buildings connected to Omicron clusters to prevent the variant from spreading. The outbreaks came after several members of the Cathay Pacific crew broke isolation rules and ate at restaurants and bars around the city before testing positive for the Omicron variant.
Hong Kong, no to flights from eight countries
In the meantime, the former English colony is not only looking for cover at sea, but also in the sky. Recently there was news of the suspension of flights from eight countries due to the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The announcement was made by Governor Carrie Lam. The ban affects Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and the United States. “Passenger flights from these countries cannot land in Hong Kong, and people who have stayed in these countries cannot board Hong Kong flights, including transit flights,” Lam told the media.
Cruises and Escapes
The stop in Hong Kong comes after the fall of the MSC Grandiosa with a severe Covid outbreak on board: 118 people on board the ship tested positive, albeit healthy. Departing from Marseille, the Grandiosa made a stop in Genoa on Monday to drop off some of the passengers, some of whom have been affected by the virus, and then continued the voyage to Civitavecchia for a second land passage for would-be holidaymakers. The cruise passengers, meanwhile, remained isolated in the cabins.
An outbreak was also detected on board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship three weeks ago. This was confirmed by the same group, which explained in a note that 48 people, including tourists and crew, had tested positive for Covid on board the ship Symphony of the Seas, which returned to Miami in mid-December
The stop from Brazil
Bad news for cruise passengers from Brazil too. Due to the outbreaks of coronavirus detected on board various ships, the Brazilian Cruise Lines Association (Clia) has announced that the companies have decided to suspend operations in Brazil until January 21. According to the official press release, the suspension for new excursions applies immediately and embarkation of tourists is not possible until the 21st of the month. The decision comes after the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) called for the “urgent” suspension of cruises and halted the operations of two ships (MSC Splendida and Costa Diadema) in the port of Santos (Sao Paulo), where dozens of passengers were headed to the tested positive for Covid in the last few days.
Vessels currently navigating Brazilian waters will continue to complete the routes as planned.