MSC Cruises has halted new itineraries on its US-based ships for 45 days until April 30.

The move follows the line’s decision to pause operations in the Mediterranean, the Gulf and Asia. Ships in South America and South Africa will end operations at the end of their current itineraries.

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Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, said: “This is not a decision we took lightly but under the current circumstances, the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities ashore – including our employees and their families – must come first.

“As a family company with over 300 years of maritime tradition, we felt that this was the right decision to make.”

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