MSC Cruises strengthens Covid-19 protocols on Virtuosa

MSC Cruises has strengthened its health and safety protocols on MSC Virtuosa in response to the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the UK.

The number of new cases, as of yesterday, stands at 37,179, compared to exactly a month ago when there were 28,229.

MSC Virtuosa was the first cruise ship to resume operations in UK water in May, and subsequently a string of lines – including P&O Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises – resumed operations out of Southampton.

Initially, MSC welcomed up to 1,000 non-vaccinated and fully-jabbed passengers on Virtuosa, but in June it changed its vaccination policy so thousands more people could join its British Isles voyages in line with government guidance issued at the time.

MSC confirmed additional testing of both passengers and crew had been introduced to “manage the prevailing Covid-19 risks”.

Suspected cases had been “managed in line with the protocol” and in cooperation with UK health authorities, it added.

The line’s spokesperson said: “In connection with the current rise of Covid-19 cases in the UK, MSC Cruises has recently further strengthened its Health & Safety Protocol on board MSC Virtuosa during UK sailings.

“This has included additional testing of both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests and crew, which has allowed us to identify suspect Covid-19 cases at the terminal during the pre-embarkation process and onboard the ship.”

The spokesperson added: “This is yet another example of our protocol doing exactly what it was designed to do. The MSC Cruises Health & Safety Protocol is designed to keep our guests, crew and the communities our vessels call at safe, and its measures are sufficiently robust in the face of the current circumstances.”

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