A group of 28 cruise passengers who were to return to Malta onboard the MSC Grandiosa are being flown back to the island after cruise ship was not allowed to visit Valletta after COVID-19 cases were detected. 

In a statement, MSC Cruises confirmed the MSC Grandiosa would not visit Valletta in connection with "a limited number of positive COVID-19 cases that had been identified onboard the ship during the course of her previous cruise through the application of the line’s health and safety protocol".

"MSC Grandiosa was today due to disembark 28 holidaymakers in Valletta – none of whom had tested positive – and who had reached the end of their cruise holiday. Arrangements are being made to fly them to Malta from one of the ship’s next port of calls.

"To be clear and contrary to certain reports that appeared earlier today in some Maltese media outlets, MSC Grandiosa is not and never was stranded at sea and it certainly does not have hundreds of cases of COVID-19 on board," a spokesperson for the company said. 

All individuals who tested positive during the ship’s previous cruise, and their close contacts have "long disembarked in ports close to their homes" during the ship’s regular itinerary earlier this week.

MSC Grandiosa is continuing to operate regularly and performing her weekly 7-day cruise in the Mediterranean, the spokesperson said. 

All passengers and crew on board the ships are fully vaccinated and passengers must take a COVID-19 test prior to embarkation. They are also regularly monitored onboard through additional testing and other measures during their cruise, the spokesperson added.

"Crew are tested regularly every two days. This means that during the course of any cruise, 100 per cent of people on board are tested multiple times to ensure the maximum effectiveness of the protocol for the wellbeing of all onboard.

"This is unlike anything that happens in any other environment ashore."

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