Coronavirus cases continue to soar globally and now the USA is advising American citizens to not travel on cruise ships. The warning for cruises comes as the number of coronavirus cases in the US rises to 564. The US State Department warned on Sunday that passengers on cruise ships are more likely to get the deadly virus.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on its website that the “CDC recommends travellers, particularly those with underlying health issues, defer all cruise ship travel worldwide.”
The CDC added: “Recent reports of COVID-19 on cruise ships highlight the risk of infection to cruise ship passengers and crew.
“Like many other viruses, COVID-19 appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships.”
The national public health institute is also advising against long-distance flights.
“To best protect these vulnerable individuals, we recommend that such individuals avoid situations that increase their risk of acquiring infections,” said the CDC.
“This entails avoiding crowded places, avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips, and especially avoiding embarking on cruise ships.”
However, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has slammed the caution.
The trade association said: “Any action to restrict cruising is unwarranted, and at odds with the World Health Organisation which continues to advise against the application of travel or trade restrictions to countries experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks.
“Singling out the travel and tourism industry, and cruise lines specifically, will have significant detrimental impacts—some possibly irreversible—on the national and local economies.”
“The cruise industry is a vital artery for the U.S. economy, supporting over 421,000 American jobs and contributing nearly $53 billion to the U.S. economy in 2018. Cruise activity supports travel agencies, airlines, hotels and a broad supply chain of industries that stretches across the United States.
“With the proactive measures in place by the cruise industry based on prevailing guidance from global health authorities, restricting cruising is unreasonable and will have long-lasting detrimental effects on the U.S. economy well beyond the travel and tourism industry.”
CLIA met with US Vice President Mike Pence and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf at the weekend.
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Following the discussions, they said in a statement: “We have committed to do even more to protect our guests, our crew and the communities where we sail. This includes more stringent boarding procedures, adding additional onboard medical resources and temperature screenings at embarkation.
“We will also develop industry-funded protocols to care for guests on land in the event of an incident to eliminate future incidents of onboard quarantine.”
A CLIA Spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “We are staying focused on development of an aggressive, responsive plan as agreed to during the meeting with Vice President Pence that goes beyond the already significantly enhanced protocols in place, which we believe are a model for others.”
The USA’s travel warning comes as passengers onboard the Grand Princess are allowed to disembark at the Port of Oakland.
All 3,000 passengers will be quarantined for two weeks at military bases after 21 people tested positive for coronavirus.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has said the state cannot continue to handle large-scale quarantines of ship passengers.
“We simply as a state cannot experience this kind of operation at the scale that is likely” if cruise ships don’t take more precautions, Newsom said at a news conference.
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