One week after announcing it would be taking precautions in the face of the deadly coronavirus, which has spread across the globe and forced multiple cruise ships into quarantine, the cruise industry is stepping up measures to fight the outbreak, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said Friday.
All members of the trade group, which make up about 90% of the ocean-going cruise ships in the world, had adopted a policy to fight coronavirus, according to a statement provided by Bari Golin-Blaugrund, senior director of strategic communications for CLIA.
CLIA is now enhancing the Jan. 31 policy to deny boarding to anyone who had traveled through mainland China two weeks prior to embarkation by restricting boarding access to anyone who may have come in contact with coronavirus.
According to the Friday release, member ships are to deny boarding to anyone who has been in close contact with or helped to care for someone suspected or diagnosed with coronavirus. Those who are being monitored for potential exposure to the virus are also to be turned away.
Ships are also to deny boarding to all who have traveled from, visited or been through airports in China within a two-week period prior to embarkation. That includes Hong Kong and Macao in addition to mainland China.
CLIA cruise member ships are to conduct screening before boarding. Enhanced screening and medical support are to be provided by ships as needed to anyone with coronavirus-like symptoms.
Common signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. The coronavirus, which was first identified in Wuhan, China, has now spread across the globe with more than 31,523 confirmed cases and 638 deaths from the virus as of Friday morning. The majority of the cases are in mainland China.
Each screening will be conducted on a case-by-case basis and some will include non-touch temperature readings when deemed appropriate. Non-touch temperature screenings are often taken with thermal scanners, non-contact infrared thermometers or tympanic thermometers for minimal contact with the patient, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Crew members and passengers alike are subject to these precautionary measures.
CLIA, which is the largest trade organization in the cruise industry, has 270 member ships, which will be expected to comply with the new policy, according to Brian Salerno, senior vice president of maritime policy at CLIA, who estimated there are more than 300 cruise ships operating around the globe.
As the situation develops, CLIA will continue to modify its policies.
Read more at usatoday.com