Costa Cruises allegedly waited two days after an elderly couple exhibiting coronavirus-like symptoms disembarked before ordering remaining passengers to self-isolate.
Costa Cruises is facing a potential class action, filed by a former passenger who claims the company knowingly put 2,000 people at risk by failing to warn them about a potential coronavirus exposure.
According to CNN, the federal class action was filed by Wisconsin resident Paul Turner. Submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami on Tuesday, it accuses Costa Cruises—owned by the Carnival Corporation—of mass negligence.
Turner, who was a passenger on the Costa Luminosa, took two separate journeys aboard the vessel: one in late February, then another in March.
The lawsuit alleges that, when the Luminosa embarked for a 20-day transatlantic voyage on March 5th, Costa Cruises had already received notification that one of its passengers—who’d disembarked several days earlier—had shown symptoms of novel coronavirus. And then, a few days after the Luminosa set sail, an elderly couple cut their trip short after reaching Puerto Rico, the first scheduled stop on the ship’s itinerary. Both the man and the woman, says CNN, also had coronavirus symptoms. They later tested positive for the illness.
In both cases, Costa Cruises neglected to pass information to the remaining passengers. And when the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance instructing Americans to avoid cruise travel altogether, the company again declined to share the message.
“Instead, they were dragged across the Atlantic in a ticking coronavirus time bomb,” said Michael Winkleman, an attorney representing Turner.
As the Costa Luminosa progressed towards Europe, the condition of the couple who’d disembarked in Puerto Rico worsened—both were hospitalized, and both tested positive for COVID-19.
Only one day later, says the lawsuit, did Costa Cruises tell passengers still aboard the ship. And it took anther day on top of that for the company to order everyone to self-isolate in their rooms.
The lawsuit, notes Fox News, characterizes Costa Cruises’ sluggish response as an attempt to conceal the high likelihood that at least several other passengers had contracted coronavirus through contact with the infected couple.,
“In doing so, Costa subjected over 2,000 passengers to the highly contagious coronavirus, and exposing passengers to actual risk of immediate physical injury and death,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit states that, on account of costa Cruises’ alleged negligence, passengers suffered severe physical, emotional and psychological distress. Winkleman told CNN that his client is seeking maximum damages, including punitive damages.
“Put simply, Costa recklessly and intentionally put thousands of passengers through a living nightmare so it could protect its bottom line,” the suit says.