Caribbean cruise line implements measures to protect against coronavirus

The Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises says it has implemented several measures to protect guests and crew from the rapidly spreading coronavirus. 

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“We are closely monitoring global developments regarding the coronavirus, and we are fully focused on protecting the health and safety of our guests and crew,” said the cruise line in an updated statement on Saturday. 

“To comply with guidance from CDC, WHO and other public health authorities around the world, we are implementing several global measures to protect guests and crew,” added Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd., referring to the Atlanta, Georgia-based US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization. 

“These measures are intentionally conservative and apply to anyone boarding our ships, guests and crew alike,” the statement continued. “We apologize for the inconvenience created by these precautionary measures.

” We are fully focused on protecting the health and safety of our guests and crew”

Until further notice, Royal Caribbean Cruises said all ships in its fleet will have a number of health screening protocols, including, regardless of nationality, denying boarding to any guest who has travelled from, to or through mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau in the past 15 days; any guest who has come in contact with anyone from mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau in the past 15 days; and all holders of China, Hong Kong and Macau passports.

In addition, Royal Caribbean Cruises said there will be mandatory specialized health screenings performed on guests who are uncertain about contact with individuals who have travelled from, to or through mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau in the past 15 days; guests who report feeling unwell or demonstrate any flu-like symptoms; and guests presenting with fever or low blood oximetry in the specialized health screenings will be denied boarding. 

The cruise line said all guests who are denied boarding due to these restrictions will receive full refunds.

The cruise line has cancelled eight China sailings through March 4 on Spectrum of the Seas, its only ship currently homeported in China. 

“We have rigorous medical protocols in place to help passengers and crew members who feel unwell while sailing,” the cruise line said. “Our protocols include professional medical treatment; quarantine of unwell individuals from the general ship population; and intensified ship cleaning, air filtration and sanitization procedures.” 

Royal Caribbean Cruises said it is “assessing developments constantly and will update these measures as needed.”

In a statement on Friday, the CDC said it is “closely monitoring” an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus (named “2019-nCoV”) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and which continues to expand. 

Chinese health officials have reported tens of thousands of infections with 2019-nCoV in China, with the virus reportedly spreading from person-to-person in parts of that country. 

Infections with 2019-nCoV, most of them associated with travel from Wuhan, also are being reported in a growing number of international locations, including the United States.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. 

Meantime, a senior United Nations Development Program (UNDP) official said that Latin America and Caribbean countries (LAC) will suffer disruptions to their supply chains as a result of the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak that has killed more than 600 people in the Asian country.