At least 80 people have lost their lives and 850 have confirmed infections from the new coronavirus around the world, with China the main centre of concern. As a result, the cruise industry is taking action, with some cruise lines even suspending operations in affected areas.
As a matter of fact, cruise lines operating in Shanghai have suspended operations, offering refunds or rescheduling, because of the new virus. More specifically:
- Royal Caribbean: Spectrum of the Seas, Costa Atlantica, Costa Venezia, and MSC Splendida have cancelled their departures from the International Cruise Terminal in Baoshan District;
- Costa Cruises: Suspension of all operations from China until February 4. Operations at other major Chinese ports have also been halted;
- Norwegian Cruise Line: Introduction of non-touch temperature screenings for all passengers embarking from Chinese ports. Guest with a body temperature screening of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius or higher will not be allowed to board and will be directed to seek local medical treatment. What is more, guests travelling from Wuhan, China or who have been in the city in the last 30 days will be denied boarding;
- Royal Caribbean Cruises Asia Pacific: Will not permit passengers who visited Wuhan including those who are from the region to board their ships;
- Princess Cruises in Asia: No plans to change their itineraries and if necessary they will introduce pre-boarding disease reporting for passengers arriving from affected areas;
- Crystal Cruises: Closely monitoring developments related to the coronavirus, including recommendations from the World Health Organization.
Commenting on the outbreak, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said that cruise lines are capable of minimizing the risk of coronavirus infection, due to their strict health procedures.
In addition, major cruise lines are collaborating with port and health authorities to enhance passenger screening procedures.
The International Transport of Workers’ Federation has also issued advice on the virus.
Therefore, ITF highlights that to be protected:
- Travellers should avoid unprotected contact with live animals;
- Thoroughly cook all animal products, including meat and eggs;
- All travellers should practice good hygiene to avoid contact with anyone displaying symptoms.
Moreover, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggested basic principles to reduce the general risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections;
- Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
- Frequent handwashing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.
- Avoiding unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.
- People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands.
Signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
In case of symptoms suggestive to respiratory illness, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share travel history with their health care provider.