In a dramatic move that underlies the issues facing the cruise industry as coronavirus continues to spread, the U.S. Department of State — which issues travel advisories for the American public singled out cruise ships.
In a statement posted on its website, the department issued a warning that “U.S. citizens, particular travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship.”
Take a look:
The full statement reads below:
“U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship. CDC notes increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment. In order to curb the spread of COVID-19, many countries have implemented strict screening procedures that have denied port entry rights to ships and prevented passengers from disembarking. In some cases, local authorities have permitted disembarkation but subjected passengers to local quarantine procedures. While the U.S. government has evacuated some cruise ship passengers in recent weeks, repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for U.S. citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities.
“This is a fluid situation. CDC 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. Passengers with plans to travel by cruise ship should contact their cruise line companies directly for further information and continue to monitor the Travel.state.gov website and see the latest information from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/cruise/index.html.”
The statement was a recent move as the same section of the website recently only mentioned a warning about traveling by cruise ship in Asia and that passengers sailing elsewhere should be aware that other countries might not allow them to disembark.
Here is the previous statement:
In recent days the picture around coronavirus has changed quickly. The virus continues to spread around the world, including more than 7,000 cases in South Korea and Italy. Cruise ships have also been impacted.
In addition to the well-known quarantine of the Diamond Princess, another Princess ship has been held off the coast of California with 20+ confirmed cases on the ship. Meanwhile there have been a number of other recent scares, including a Carnival ship in Los Angeles that was delayed from debarking yesterday while a person onboard was tested for the virus. Thankfully, that test came back negative.
In response cruise lines have dramatically eased cancellation policies to give passengers greater flexibility, implemented tough restrictions on who can set sail, and stepped up sanitation on cruise ships.
However, with this updated statement from the government, it’s obvious that we have reached a new point in cruising during the coronavirus outbreak.
The common flu is more dangerous than COVID-19. If you have health problems you should not be at sea. The on board doctor is only able to treat minor conditions.