While the cruise industry worldwide just started to make a comeback, two MSC Seaside passengers tested positive for COVID19 on Tuesday. The pair traveled with their families as the ship disembarked in Syracuse, Sicily. Both were asymptomatic.
The MSC Seaside cruise ship also docked in Malta for a “technical call” but the passengers weren’t allowed to disembark.
MSC Safety Protocols
MSC requires all passengers to show a negative COVID19 test result within 96 hours before departure. Passengers will also have to show another negative COVID19 test result upon embarking and a final third test while onboard. The MSC doesn’t require its passengers to be vaccinated.
While onboard, passengers will have to wear masks and maintain social distancing. MSC Spokesperson Michael Curatolo said that “Our protocol is working, if not on board those two people would still be freely circulating”.
MSC has a contingency plan for each port of call in case someone tested positive. Curatolo explained that a “protective transfer was immediately activated”.
According to Luca Biondolillo, who is the chief communications officer for MSC Cruise, the company currently has three vessels at sea.
Can a Passenger Get COVID in US Cruise Lines?
MSC Cruises was the first to sail in Europe in August 2020. And since then, it’s been operating on and off. In the US, CDC stopped cruises for 15 months. And though cruises can operate in US waters again, cruises will need to maintain a vaccination threshold for both passengers and crew.
US cruise lines will have to conduct a test voyage in case they can’t have 95% of their crew and passengers fully vaccinated. The test voyage will have 10% of the actual number of passengers during the paid sailing. Also, the test voyage is a chance to practice safety protocols.
As a precaution, some US cruise lines required full vaccination on their crew and passengers. However, it becomes a problem for cruises in Florida and Texas as both states have laws that prevent businesses from checking their customer’s vaccination status.