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Portugal repatriates MSC Cruises passengers stuck on Fantasia ship

By ,   March 24, 2020 ,   Accidents

More than 1,000 cruise passengers aboard a ship docked in Port Lisbon will be flown back home on Tuesday, March 24, even though a fellow traveller tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19), the interior ministry announced.

En route from Brazil, MSC Fantasia arrived in Lisbon on Sunday and tourists, mostly from the EU countries, UK, Australia and Brazil, have since been waiting for repatriation to begin. Initially, authorities in Portugal said all passengers would stay onboard until they'd been tested for the virus. However, only Portuguese travellers ended up getting the test.

The 39 Portuguese citizens, as well as residency permit holders onboard, were allowed to disembark on Monday. One tested positive and they are all in isolation at home, according to the interior ministry.

Portugal declared a state of emergency on March 18 with restrictions on movement to people. The country is coordinating the repatriation of passengers with embassies from a variety of countries. Repatriation flights will take off throughout Tuesday from Lisbon to the UK, Germany, and Brazil. The flights have a total capacity for 1,140 of the 1,299 people onboard the ship. It is not clear when and how the remaining 159 people will be repatriated.

MSC Fantasia cruise ship

The final destination of MSC Fantasia, which left Rio de Janeiro on March 9, had been Genoa Italy - the country worst affected by the virus.

For other MSC Fantasia accidents and incidents see at the ship's CruiseMinus page.

For Coronavirus updates on cruise ship quarantines (infected passengers and crew) and top-pandemic countries (COVID-19 cases and deaths, daily updated statistics) see at CruiseMapper's Norovirus page.