Brazil health agency warns against boarding cruise ships amid COVID-19 outbreaks

FILE PHOTO: A passenger is seen on the balcony of the Costa Fascinosa cruise ship anchored at the Santos port, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Santos, Sao Paulo state, Brazil, March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Rahel Patrasso

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian health agency Anvisa on Sunday warned passengers against boarding cruise ships operating along the Brazilian coast after outbreaks of COVID-19 affecting crew and customers, according to a statement on its website.

The move follows a call for the “immediate temporary interruption of the cruise ship season in Brazil” as they pose a risk to public health.

“In view of recent events, Anvisa does not recommend the embarkation of passengers who have trips scheduled on cruise ships for the next few days,” the statement said.

“This recommendation takes into account the rapid change in the epidemiological scenario, the risk to the health of passengers and the unpredictability of operations at this time.”

There are five cruise liners operating on the Brazilian coast being monitored by Anvisa, the agency said.

The MSC Splendida, anchored at Santos, was banned from embarking new passengers from late Saturday and the vessel was quarantined from Sunday. The Diadema was ordered to suspend service and all passengers will need to disembark when it arrives at Santos, Anvisa said.

The other three are the MSC Preziosa, Costa Fascinosa, and MSC Seaside, which face a potential boarding ban and service suspension pending further epidemiological investigation, Anvisa said.

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