Last updated: 17.41 on Friday January 31
Clia cruise line members have banned passengers and crew who have travelled from or through mainland China over the past 14 days from boarding any ships.
The decision came into effect from midday on Friday.
A Clia spokesperson said: “Clia members have suspended crew movements from mainland China and will deny boarding to any individual, whether guest or crew, who has travelled from or through mainland China within the previous 14 days.
“The cruise industry is one of the most well-equipped and experienced when it comes to managing and monitoring health conditions of passengers and crew.
“Cruise lines take precautions to conduct passive as well as active screening of passengers and crew for illness prior to boarding when circumstances demand.
“Furthermore, Clia members implement outbreak prevention and response measures and their ships must be fitted with medical facilities, shipboard and shore side medical professionals available around the clock, 24/7, to provide initial medical care in the event of illness and prevent disease transmission.”
Fear of a potential outbreak of coronavirus on one of the world’s largest cruise ships turned out to be a false alarm.
Costa Cruises confirmed that Italian health officials diagnosed a passenger on board the 6,000-passenger Costa Smeralda with the “common flu”.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that two members from the same family in England have the first cases of coronavirus in the UK.
Passengers on the Costa ship had been placed in quarantine as a precaution over a suspected case of the deadly virus in Civitavecchia, the port for Rome.
At least 66 British passengers were reported to be on board the vessel at the time.
A 54-year-old woman from Macau held in isolation on the ship with her husband had reportedly flown from Hong Kong to join the Mediterranean cruise.
A Costa Cruises spokesperson said: “Thanks to the protocols that are applied on board the fleet, Wednesday night our medical team promptly identified a suspected fever case in a 54-year-old woman, just a few hours before the ship’s arrival in Civitavecchia.
“As soon as the case was discovered, the required precautionary procedures were immediately taken. The relevant authorities were informed and, upon arrival of the ship in the port of Civitavecchia, they carried out all the required checks.
“While we appreciate the inconvenience caused, the procedures in force and our co-operation with the health authorities were effective in managing the situation and intended to ensure maximum safety for our guests, crew and the community as a whole.”
The ship will remain docked at Civitavecchia until today and miss the port of La Spezia before returning to its home port of Savona.
The scare came as rival line MSC Cruises announced a new series of strict “precautionary measures” across its fleet due to the coronavirus outbreak in China which has caused 213 deaths in the country and triggered a World Heath Organisation global health emergency.
- Guests from all nationalities are required to fill out a pre-embarkation questionnaire to ensure no-one boards their ship who has travelled from mainland China or visited mainland China in the past 30 days. Anyone who has travelled from mainland China or visited mainland China in the past 30 days will be denied access to the ship;
- Mandatory non-touch thermal scans conducted for all guests and crew prior to embarkation for every cruise operated by the company anywhere in the world, and persons with signs or symptoms of illness such as fever or feverishness, chills, cough or difficulty breathing will be denied embarkation;
- Elevated deep-sanitation on every ship in the line’s entire fleet;
- Guests who may have fever symptoms will be isolated in their cabin and the same measure applies for their close contacts, including guests staying in the same cabin and family members, as well as any crew member who may have served these guests.
A spokesman said: “While there are no cases of coronavirus on board any of MSC Cruises’ ships these measures are additional steps to secure the health and well-being of all guests and crew.”
“These measures follow previous actions that were taken last week,” the spokesman added.
“Guests and crew who travelled last week from mainland China were already screened for symptoms upon embarkation, and were requested to report any symptoms of illness to the onboard medical centre.
“Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, MSC Cruises has been closely monitoring the public health and safety situation in each of the regions its ships sail.
“The company has been consulting with international and local health authorities to follow their advice and recommendations.”
The move came after the line cancelled the next three MSC Splendida sailings from Shanghai.
The ship’s four and five-night sailings from Shanghai to Japan on February 1, 5 and 9 will not operate.
MSC Splendida, deployed in Asia for the winter, will reposition to Singapore to start a 27-night repositioning voyage to the Middle East and Europe on February 14.
The line’s chief executive Gianni Onorato said: “The decision to reposition the ship from Shanghai to Singapore has been taken in the best interests of the safety and wellbeing for our passengers and crew, as was the decision to cancel our next three scheduled sailings from China.
“Many major airlines have either cancelled or reduced their flight frequency to China and the grand voyage, a maritime tradition whereby a ship moves from one part of the world to another for a new sailing season, was entirely booked with guests flying from abroad to enjoy the experience of a unique itinerary.
“In light of Singapore becoming a new embarkation port we have had to cancel calls to Naha, Japan and Hong Kong but it has also created an opportunity to update and enrich the grand voyage’s itinerary with four additional new ports; Langkawi, Penang and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, plus Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to create a new, one-of-a kind memorable cruise.”
Princess Cruises said it is “closely monitoring” the situation, adding that the line’s medical experts were working with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organisation to implement screening, prevention and control measures for its ships.
Three Sapphire Princess sailings have been changed so they will either arrive into Tokyo or depart from the Japanese capital, rather than Shanghai.
Roundtrip sailings departing on June 3 and June 11 from Shanghai have been cancelled altogether.
The line is also implementing the following measures:
- Denial of boarding for guests who have traveled from or through mainland China (including Hubei Province) in the past 14-days. This does not apply to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan;
- Pre-boarding medical evaluations, including temperature checks, for persons whom, for any reason, appear or identify as symptomatic (respiratory or fever symptoms);
- For all guests, our standard pre-boarding health reporting for all guests advising of their reporting obligations for any illness or symptoms of an illness;
- Medical screening for coronavirus on all guests who visit our onboard medical centre with symptoms of any respiratory illness;
- Reporting to local and national health authorities of all cases of fever and respiratory illness, and any patients with suspected coronavirus infection;
- Crew members from mainland China will be delayed from joining any ship until further notice;
- Crew members from other regions of the world who may have been scheduled to connect on flights through China have been rerouted;
- Additional environmental disinfection onboard will be performed in addition to our regular stringent cleaning and sanitation protocols.
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