Italy will allow some cruise ships to return later this month





The huge vessel was carrying some 1,116 crew members on board, four of whom are in isolation after being in direct contact with a passenger infected with the the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease, according to a statement by the press office of the president of the northwestern region of Liguria. EPA-EFE/LUCA ZENNARO Italy has been under a national lockdown since 09 March, as the Mediterranean country has been ravaged by the novel coronavirus with a devastating toll of more than 9,000 deaths so far. EPA-EFE/LUCA ZENNARO

The MSC Splendida cruise ship approaches the port of Genoa, Italy, 27 March 2020. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Italy will allow some cruise ships to return later this month

By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe

epa08327347 The MSC Splendida cruise ship approaches the port of Genoa, Italy, 27 March 2020.

The Italian government has given permission to its cruise industry to start sailing again in Mediterranean waters, after several months of lockdown, in a bid to boost its economy.  
  Over the weekend, the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), a privately owned company based in Geneva, said it will have two departures from Italian ports this month, starting from August 16. In case cruise operations across Europe remained suspended throughout August, CLIA has predicted an economic loss of around €25.5 billion. The announcement was made on Friday by the country’s Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, who said that Italy will reopen its borders for cruise ships as of August 15. The return of the cruising industry comes at a rather challenging moment, as several European states are reporting an alarming surge in COVID-19 infections, and amid growing concerns over the safety of cruising ships, with hundreds of cases recorded on multiple ships. The company, which was the first global operator to announce the resumption of its operations after the Coronavirus outbreak paralysed all travelling, is planning to conduct a swab test of every passenger just before boarding, and those found positive, or show symptoms of illness, will be denied boarding. According to numbers published by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Italy’s cruise industry is worth of up to €14.5 billion and supports almost 53,000 jobs, being Europe’s largest industry. Similarly, Costa Cruises, owned by Carnival Corporation, announced on Tuesday that it was planning to resume its trips from Italian ports in early September, with its ships operating under the so-called “Costa Safety Protocol,” meaning the new regulations developed in line with Italian and EU health guidelines.