In December 2019, a novel strain of coronavirus, COVID-19, was first reported in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. COVID-19 quickly spread to numerous countries and has since been designated a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. Carnival launched several cruise ships in early 2020, putting tens of thousands of passengers and crew at serious risk and turned Carnival’s ships into vessels for seeding the virus across the globe. On January 27, 2020, as COVID-19 spread beyond China, Carnival, however, claimed that the risks of COVID-19 posed to the company’s guests, crew, and global business were “very low.”
Carnival continued to double-down on its statements of “low risk” throughout the next two months by permitting cruises to continue (except those traveling to and from China or where quarantined by authorities) in the face of mounting cruise passenger illnesses and deaths on its own ships due to COVID-19, or soon after disembarking its own ships. On February 3, 2020, just a few days after Carnival reiterated that COVID-19 was “very low” risk to Carnival’s guests, crew, and business, Carnival admitted that a passenger who had been onboard its Diamond Princess ship, from January 20, 2020, through January 25, 2020, had tested positive for COVID-19. This diagnosis caused Japanese authorities to conduct a review of all guests and crew as the ship was docked in Yokohama, Japan, causing a delay in the next leg of the ship’s journey.
On this news, the price of Carnival’s common stock declined $0.78 per share, or approximately 2%, from a close of $43.53 per share on January 31, 2020, to close at $42.75 per share on February 3, 2020. Similarly, the price of Carnival’s ADSs declined $0.45 per share, or 1.1%, from a close of $41.10 per ADS on January 31, 2020, to close at $40.65 per ADS on February 3, 2020.
Investors began to learn the truth about Carnival’s prior false and misleading statements through a series of additional disclosures to the market during the Class Period (on March 4, 2020, March 8, 2020, March 27, 2020, and April 16, 2020).
Finally, on May 1, 2020, and as a result of the many outbreaks on Carnival ships, as well as reporting that exposed the effects of Carnival’s actions and inactions, the United States House of Representatives opened an investigation into Carnival’s handling of COVID-19, initiated by a letter addressed to Carnival’s Chief Executive Officer requesting records regarding Carnival’s COVID-19 response (the “Congressional Letter”). The Congressional Letter, which cited prior outbreaks, stated that the request for records was based on concerns that Carnival was “ignoring the public health threat posed by coronavirus to potential future passengers and crew,” and that “officials at Carnival were aware of the threats to some of its ships and did not take appropriate actions, which may have led to greater infections and the spread of the disease.”
On this news, the price of Carnival’s common stock declined $1.97 per share, or 12.4%, from a close of $15.90 per share on April 30, 2020, to close at $13.93 per share on May 1, 2020. Similarly, the price of Carnival’s ADSs declined $1.49 per ADS, or 10.7%, from a close of $13.92 per ADS on April 30, 2020, to close at $12.43 per ADS on May 1, 2020.
As a result of the revelation of the truth about Carnival’s inability and unwillingness to deal with the spread of infectious diseases on its ships, Carnival investors who purchased shares on U.S. exchanges lost billions of dollars when Carnival’s shares declined following the corrective revelations.
Carnival Corporation & Plc
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