At this point, it is common knowledge that cruise ships are one of the ways that coronavirus spread has throughout the world. In the coming weeks and months, the cruise industry will undoubtedly come under intense scrutiny for its handling of the outbreak. Yesterday we blogged about a cruise ship employee who told her story to CNN.com, detailing how her superiors did not take the coronavirus threat seriously. Now, a group of former cruise passengers has filed a lawsuit after being exposed to COVID-19 while aboard a cruise ship.
MiamiHerald.com reports that 51-year-old Emilio Hernandez and 46-year-old Barbara Hernandez, together with other cruise passengers, are suing Costa Cruises after the company allegedly exposed passengers to coronavirus. Costa boarded passengers on the Luminosa cruise ship even though the company knew that the ship had hosted a passenger who was sick with coronavirus on the previous voyage. Though the coronavirus outbreak was making headlines, Emilio says that he and Barbara decided to sail anyways. “People are getting on the boat, we should be OK, and surely if something is wrong, the company wouldn’t sail. We sat there off to the side at the port for a good hour and 15 minutes before we made a decision to get on,” he told the Miami Herald.
The report details a cruise voyage that was doomed from the start and only got worse as it went on. The ship set sail on March 5, medically evacuated a passenger and her husband on March 8, and from there was denied port at Antigua, prompting ship officials to decide to sail to Europe. Despite the fact that it was clear that the illness was spreading through the ship, officials waited a week to take corrective measures such as isolating passengers and issuing personal protective equipment to crew members.
While aboard the Luminosa both Emilio and Barbara contracted coronavirus. They are currently recovering at their home in South Florida. Dozens of other ship passengers also fell ill with coronavirus, and three died.
“If the cruise ships don’t learn now, how many more people are going to die? They need to be held accountable for what they’ve done to their passengers and their crews," Emilio said.