What cruisers should know about Coronavirus
March update (last updated March 2nd):
- According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), Italy has still ranked a number 2 (on a scale from 1-4) meaning that the cases of Coronavirus are limited and all persons have been tested properly for the disease. Currently, there are no restrictions on traveling to Italy.
- The good news is that the Italian strain of Coronavirus has been isolated and they are working on the first steps towards a vaccine.
- Nothing has changed in regards to traveling to/from Italy.
- Ports of Venice, La Spezia, Livorno, Civitavecchia, etc. are still hosting the different ships and cruise lines
- Most ports are following the CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) regulations set forth that anyone who has traveled to China, Hong Kong or Macau in the two weeks (14 days) before their cruise, would not be allowed on the ship.
A global wide outbreak of coronavirus has cruise lovers asking questions regarding how the virus could affect their travel plans. At Cruiseexperts.com, we understand your concerns and have provided the following information to help answer your questions. Links have been provided at the end of the article for WHO and CDC websites and phone numbers. We also suggest you contact your travel agent for the latest information and travel advisories. If you have booked your upcoming cruise through CruiseExperts.com, call us at 1.866.820.6689 with any questions you may have.
What We Know About Coronavirus
First identified in Wuhan, China, the new coronavirus has spread to several countries, although the greater majority of infected people are located in China. A level 4 warning has been issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for mainland China, and they recommend people avoid all unnecessary travel there.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people should not cancel their business or personal travel plans outside of China. Click the above link to see an important video prepared by WHO regarding travel. WHO announced that the fatality rate in Wuhan, China, considered the epicenter of the outbreak, is between 2% and 4%. Outside of Wuhan, it is thought to be 0.7% which equals seven deaths per 10,000 people infected. Much of the news you hear is focusing on the coronavirus outbreak, but it’s important to note that during the current influenza season in the United States, over 15 million people have been infected, and there have been 8,200 deaths. The risk of contracting influenza in the United States is much greater than contracting coronavirus.
- How Is Coronavirus Spread? – Close contact with an infected person is how the CDC believes the virus spreads. When an infected person coughs and sneezes, small respiratory droplets may land near another person, exposing them to the virus. It is very similar to the way other respiratory pathogens and viruses spread. Some cases of coronavirus are mild, and the individual might not realize they have it. Hand-washing is an important means of preventing the spread of coronavirus.
- Symptoms to Watch for – Fever, coughing, shortness of breath, and respiratory infection are the primary symptoms to watch for. The symptoms may appear anywhere from two days to more than three weeks following exposure to the virus. Always wash your hands, and use hand sanitizer as an extra precaution. The people most susceptible to coronavirus are those with compromised immune systems, pre-existing conditions, and respiratory issues.
- Have There Been Cruise Ship Cases? – The Diamond Princess cruise ship was placed under a two-week quarantine in the Tokyo area. During that time more than 500 passengers and crew members tested positive for coronavirus. The quarantine came to an end on February 19, 2020. Holland America Line’s Westerdam was cleared and never had any cases on board at all. The full 747 members of the ship’s crew all tested negative and were cleared by Cambodia.
- Precautions Being Taken by Cruise Lines – All cruise lines are taking proactive steps which include implementing screening, prevention, and control programs. All members of the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) are currently denying boarding to anyone who has traveled from, visited, or transited via all airports in China, Hong Kong, and Macau within 14 days prior to embarkation. In addition to these precautions, all CLIA are denying boarding to persons who have had close contact with or helped care for someone suspected or diagnosed with coronavirus within 14 days of embarkation as well as anyone who is currently undergoing health monitoring for possible exposure to the virus. To avoid future exposure, cruise lines are making itinerary changes and canceling sailings to certain ports.
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