Days after meeting with airline executives and aviation officials to discuss ways to combat the COVID-19 virus, Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday met with cruise line executives and said a large-scale “whole of America” approach is needed.
Pence, in charge of the U.S. response team to the coronavirus, met with cruise line CEOs, port directors from Florida and representatives of the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA). Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Rick Scott were also in attendance.
“President Trump has no higher priority than the health and safety and well-being of the American people,” Pence said at the meeting. “It’s the reason why, from the first advent of the coronavirus in America, the president launched a whole of government approach, but as evidenced here today it’s not just a whole of government approach… but it’s really a whole of America approach.”
Pence said the administration has also met with the pharmaceutical industry, nursing home leaders, commercial laboratories and more.
“I speak for President Trump when I say we couldn’t be more grateful with the spirit of cooperation from all the American businesses that we’ve engaged and their desire to put the health of America first,” he said.
Pence reportedly indicated that U.S. authorities have been also “tracking” the passenger cruise vessel Royal Princess, due to the recent transfer of a single crew member who had previously served aboard the Grand Princess.
During an update phone call this afternoon, Dr. Grant Tarling, MD, MPH, chief medical officer for Carnival Corporation, clarified that the vessel and the individual in question had been cleared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health authorities before being allowed to dock in San Pedro, California, where she is scheduled to depart upon her next itinerary.
As for the Grand Princess – which has more than 3,500 passengers aboard and has been held off the California coast after 21 people tested positive for the virus on the ship – it is finally being allowed to dock in Oakland on Monday.
“The risk of contracting the coronavirus for the average American remains low,” Pence said. “That being said, we are going to continue to lean into this effort, to call on industry, to call on every agency of government to deal with it.”
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