The recent rise of COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases throughout the US has the State Department urging all Americans to avoid boarding cruise ships. The warning is particularly aimed towards people with underlying health conditions, the State Department said in an advisory on Sunday.
What We Know:
- US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define underlying conditions as heart disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes, and any other condition which drastically weakens the immune system. They also went on to say it is recommended that people with such conditions halt any international travel via cruise ship.
- It is known that the CDC usually advises destinations to avoid, not transportation, during any sort of outbreak. The novel coronavirus has become a notable exception.
- “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 CDC advised.
- As of March 9, 2020, there are now 34 states and counting, with cases of the virus which has now brought the national total to 565. That number includes 46 people who were former passengers of the Diamond Princess Cruise ship and at least 21 people who tested positive for the virus while aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, which will dock in California on Monday.
- In response to the unfortunate outbreaks, the company which operates both ships, Princess cruises, is offering stranded passengers aboard a full refund, according to a letter obtained by CNN. The refund includes air fare and accommodations as well as a future cruise credit.
Prior to the State Department’s advisory, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) posted a tweet on Friday saying “any action to restrict cruising is unwarranted, and at odds with the World Health Organization which ‘continues to advise against the application of travel or trade restrictions to countries experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks’”.