US citizens warned not to travel on cruise ships amid coronavirus outbreak

Confirmed Covid-19 cases tops 500 in the States

Helen Coffey
Monday 09 March 2020 15:26
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US citizens have been told not to travel on cruise ships to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The State Department updated its travel advice on Sunday 8 March, writing in a statement on its website: “US citizens, particularly travellers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship.

“Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment.

“In order to curb the spread of COVID-19, many countries have implemented strict screening procedures that have denied port entry rights to ships and prevented passengers from disembarking.

“In some cases, local authorities have permitted disembarkation but subjected passengers to local quarantine procedures.

“While the US government has evacuated some cruise ship passengers in recent weeks, repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for US citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities.”

The State Department added that the situation was “fluid”, but advised older people and travellers with underlying health issues to avoid non-essential travel, such as long plane trips and cruises.

Passengers with plans to travel by cruise ship are advised to contact their cruise line directly for further information and to monitor the travel.state.gov website.

Confirmed cases of the virus have now topped 500 in the States, with 22 recorded deaths.

The news comes after the Grand Princess cruise ship was barred from docking in California after 21 passengers tested positive for Covid-19.

The liner is expected to dock at the Port of Oakland today, but passengers onboard told the BBC they were going “stir crazy” after being confined to their cabins.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship still has the seventh highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases – 696 – out of all countries and territories.

Seven passengers died after an outbreak swept across the vessel in February 2020.

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