Over 30 crew members on a Costa cruise ship docked in Nagasaki, Japan, have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Crew Members on Costa Atlantica Hit With Coronavirus
When we mention Japan and COVID-19 one of the first things people think of is the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which had a major outbreak of the illness in February, 2020, while docked in Yokohama, Japan. Now, another vessel, the Costa Atlantica, has 34 confirmed cases of coronavirus while docked in Nagasaki, Japan.
The authorities in Japan have confirmed that 34 crew members have tested positive for the infectious virus. No passengers are on board the vessel, as it went into the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) shipyard in Nagasaki in late February for scheduled work. That work has now been delayed because of labor issues, social distancing, and other concerns during the worldwide pandemic.
There are currently 620 crew members aboard the Costa vessel and those with more severe symptoms are to be taken ashore for further medical attention. All the crew is also under quarantine until the outbreak passes.
If the outbreak on Costa Atlantic continues it could cause issues for the local health authorities as resources are already stretched. The medical facility on board is limited and would not be able to cope with a major outbreak if the disease continues to spread. Officials will hopefully learn from what happened on Diamond Princess in February after more than 700 people, including crew members and passengers, were infected.
The Diamond Princess quarantine had only limited effect and became a nightmare, not just for everyone onboard stuck in their cabins, but also Princess Cruises as a company. Sadly there were 14 deaths from the cruise ship, but eventually the outbreak was contained and guests were taken home via charter flights.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the COVID-19 pandemic has not hit Japan as heavily as some major countries in Europe. As of this writing, Japan has just over 11,500 confirmed cases of the virus and under 300 total deaths.
Costa Cruises has already announced an extension to its voluntary suspension of cruise operations. At the moment, cruises are cancelled through May 31, 2020, with the majority of sailings starting in the first week of July.
Costa Atlantica is 86,000 gross tons with a guest capacity of over 2,000 at double occupancy. The crew capacity is almost 900 when the ship is fully staffed.