The cruise industry was up in arms this week after reports that US authorities were mulling an advisory that would discourage cruise travel due to Covid-19 fears claiming it was “singling out the travel and tourism industry, and cruise lines specifically”.
On Sunday, the State Department advised US nationals against traveling on cruise ships, warning that they presented a higher risk of coronavirus infection and made US citizens vulnerable to possible international travel restrictions, including quarantines.
“US citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship,” the State Department said in its website alert.
Representing the global cruise industry, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) warned that “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”, adding that any such decision would “have significant detrimental impacts – some possibly irreversible – on the national and local economies”
CLIA went on to note in its statement that it had already taken proactive measures to protect against the spread of Covid-19, including stringent pre-boarding screening procedures.
“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,” it said.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, a number of cruise ships have been turned away over fears for the spread of Covid-19, including the latest, the Costa Fortuna of Italian cruise operator Costa Crociere, which was rejected by Thailand and Malaysia and will dock in Singapore on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, in Egypt, 33 additional infected passengers were found on board a cruise ship that had traveled to Aswan and Luxor.
In Greece, last week an MSC Cruises liner was given the green light by Greek health authorities to depart from Piraeus to Corfu after a Covid-19 incident on board the ship forced all passengers to remain temporarily quarantined.