Coronavirus: 'We were dumped in worst Covid-19 country'

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Julia Hann and husband DavidImage source, FAMILY PHOTO
Image caption,
Julia Hann and husband David were trapped aboard a cruise ship off Italy

Holidaymakers have accused a cruise company of dumping them in the "worst coronavirus country in the world".

Passengers on the 3,700-capacity Costa Pacifica were unable to leave the ship after France blocked non-French residents from disembarking last week.

One Welsh couple eventually left the ship but claim they were "effectively dumped with an 11-hour wait" at Rome airport for a flight home.

Costa said the "complexity" of an "evolving scenario" was the reason.

Italy has had more deaths than any other country in Covid-19 pandemic - its death toll from the virus now stands at 4,827, with 795 dying overnight.

Julia Hann said she and her husband David wanted to get home to Cardiff as quickly as possible.

They had been on the 17-deck cruise liner since 3 March.

It left Argentina and sailed across the Atlantic to the French port of Marseille last week.

Mrs Hann said she was finally allowed off the ship at the port of Genoa in Italy late on Sunday.

"At 8pm last night in Genoa, we were told we're getting on a private bus to Rome," the 60-year-old French tutor told BBC Radio Wales.

"We had no idea we were going on a six-and-a-half hour coach trip.

"They assured us when we got to Rome, we'd get a sanitised exit on to the plane.

"We arrived at Rome at 3.30am. Our flight was at 2.25pm - so they effectively dumped us with an 11-hour wait in the worst country in the world for coronavirus."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The 17-deck Costa Pacifica cost £460m when it was built in 2009

Costa said 1,454 of the 2,359 people aboard the £460m ship, including Mrs and Mrs Hann, had disembarked in Genoa on Sunday and the company had "successfully managed" to sort transfers and flights home for passengers.

It said the remaining 905 guests on board had sailed to Civitavecchia, nearer to Rome, to be closer to Italy's main airports.

The Foreign Office said it had been in contact with the cruise liner firm and there were no confirmed cases of Covid-19 on board.