More than a month after the no-sail order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the cruise industry is continuing slow progress towards a halt in operations in the face of coronavirus.
A few cruise ships have guests on board, and others are still hosting crew members, some of whom are facing difficult conditions, including time on board without pay.
“All ships within the CLIA fleet have completed their itineraries. A few are still at port awaiting debarkation of passengers,” Bari Golin-Blaugrund, senior director of strategic communications for Cruise Lines International Association, told USA TODAY on Wednesday.
In a statement, Costa Cruises said told USA TODAY that 34 crew members on board the docked ship Costa Atlantica have tested positive for coronavirus.
The Italian-flagged Costa Atlantica has been docked in Nagasaki, Japan, for repairs and maintenance by Mitsubishi Heavy Industry since Jan. 29. No passengers have been on board during the repair work.
There are 632 people on board of 33 nationalities, according to the cruise line.
“We have already upgraded the precautionary and containment measures including, but not limited to, quarantine on board, following the instructions from the Japanese government and the relevant health authorities,” Costa Cruises said in the statement.
The outbreak surfaced Tuesday when the first crew member, identified only as a foreign national, tested positive for the virus.
None of those infected had serious symptoms, and all are isolated in single rooms on the ship, officials said.
Mitsubishi officials said no crew members had left the ship since mid-March. Before then, crew members had been allowed to come and go from ship to shore if they passed temperature checks and had not traveled recently to high-risk countries such as China and Italy.
“We have been constantly monitoring the health of our colleagues on board during the ships’ stay in Japan,” the cruise line said.
Nagasaki officials are investigating how and where the crew members contracted the virus.
The outbreak on the ship adds to concerns about testing and hospital capacity in Nagasaki, where only 102 beds are available.
All of Japan is under a coronavirus state of emergency as cases rise. Japan has about 11,500 cases of infection, with 280 deaths. Those numbers are separate from an earlier outbreak on another cruise ship, carrying more than 3,700 passengers and crew, where 712 people were infected.