State Department issues advisory warning Americans against cruise travel

Cruise Association hits back with measures to protect passengers from coronavirus 

U.S. citizens have been warned they should not travel on cruise ships due to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

In a travel advisory issued Sunday, March 8, the U.S. State Department noted the increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment.

“This is a fluid situation.  CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) notes that older adults and travelers with underlying health issues should avoid situations that put them at increased risk for more severe disease.  This entails avoiding crowded places, avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips, and especially avoiding embarking on cruise ships.”

The statement comes as nineteen crew members and two passengers on the Grand Princess have tested positive for COVID-19 and its 3,400 passengers from 54 countries are due to be quarantined at military bases in California, Georgia and Texas after the ship docked Monday in Oakland, California.

Shortly before the State Department issued its travel advisory, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) issued a statement on steps it is taking to protect passengers from COVID-19.

Cruise Association hits back with measures to protect passengers from coronavirus 
Cruise Association hits back with measures to protect passengers from coronavirus

Among the measures, which are effective immediately, CLIA members will:

  • Deny boarding to all persons who have traveled from, visited or transited via airports in South Korea, Iran, China, including Hong Kong and Macau, and any municipality in Italy subject to lockdown (quarantine) measures by the Italian Government.
  • Conduct illness screening for all persons who have traveled from, visited or transited via airports in any destinations listed on the U.S. CDC “Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel” page within 14 days before embarkation. Illness screening includes symptom history checks for fever, cough and difficulty breathing in the 14 days before embarkation and taking of temperature.
  • Conduct temperature screening, as soon as they are capable, at initial embarkation for all persons boarding. Any individual with a temperature detected at or above 100.4° F / 38° C is to receive secondary screening to include a medical assessment.
  • Deny boarding to all persons who, within 14 days prior to embarkation, have had contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having COVID-19, or who are currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Conduct pre-boarding screening necessary to effectuate these prevention measures. Enhanced screening and initial medical support are to be provided, as needed, to any persons exhibiting symptoms of suspected COVID-19.

“The adoption of these measures further demonstrates the cruise industry’s unique ability to respond quickly as circumstances evolve,” said Kelly Craighead, President and CEO of CLIA. “We remain in close contact with local governments around the world, and while we regret that these changes will result in the denial of boarding for some of our guests, travelers should know that their health and safety is the absolute priority for the industry.”

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