A cruise liner carrying more than 100 people who have tested positive for Covid-19 has docked in Italy.
The MCS Grandiosa liner arrived at the port of Civitavecchia, which serves Rome, on Tuesday to let some of its 4,000 passengers disembark.
After sailing from Marseille in France, the vessel had stopped at the northern Italian city of Genoa before heading south along the coastline.
Italian state TV’s RaiNews24 on Monday reported that 150 passengers had returned positive coronavirus tests and that most of them were Italian.
The cruise group said 45 of them left the ship in Genoa “to be taken home safely” at the company's expense.
“Today we are disembarking 45 positive cases in Genoa,” MSC's communications department said on Monday.
“As per protocol, the Covid-positive passengers and their relatives were immediately isolated in balcony cabins and received medical attention."
The company said the majority of people who had tested positive for Covid were not experiencing any symptoms.
Genoa daily newspaper Il Secolo XIX reported that others would leave the liner in Civitavecchia or in Palermo, Sicily.
Genoa port authorities told AFP that Italian nationals who tested positive for the coronavirus had been taken home by the civil protection services, while infected foreign passengers were transferred to medical facilities.
The outbreak is a blow for Europe’s cruise industry, which has suffered heavily due to lockdowns and travel restrictions across the continent.
At the beginning of the pandemic multiple vessels were hit by mass outbreaks on board.
Following a break from voyages, many cruise companies resumed their activities in the summer.
Last week another MSC liner was hit by a Covid outbreak while it was sailing in the Caribbean.
MSC Seashore was refused permission to dock at the Bahamas after the virus was detected on board.
The liner arrived at the company’s private island of Ocean Cay on December 29 and passengers prepared to disembark to enjoy a day on the beach. However, the captain informed them that the ship would remain at sea throughout the day.
“Unfortunately, and unlike most ports of call, the government of the Bahamas has decided to force us to cancel our call at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve today out of an abundance of caution,” Captain Galano, master of the MSC Seashore, said in a letter distributed to passengers.
“Due to the short notice, we will replace it with an additional day at sea. I apologise for any inconvenience this might cause you and thank you for your understanding.”
He said “a limited number,” of Covid cases had been found among the crew, “as well as a handful of guests who tested positive" for the virus during the five-day voyage from Miami, Florida.
The Bahamas' decision to deny entry to the ship came a day after the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention raised its alert level on cruising to urge travellers to avoid liners, regardless of their vaccination status.