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Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line has announced a ban of people who carry passports from China, Hong Kong and Macau in a bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The epidemic originated in Wuhan, China, and has so far killed 910 people and infected 40,547 people.
In a press release, Royal Caribbean stated: “These steps are intentionally conservative, and we apologise that they will inconvenience some of our guests.”
Passengers who have visited the three regions in the past 15 days will also be barred from boarding the cruise ship.
It also stated that the ban is applicable to people who have been in close proximity with people from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.
Last week, Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas cruise ship was held at New Jersey, US, to test four passengers for the coronavirus.
After receiving the green signal from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the cruise line operator stated that the ship would travel to Bermuda instead of the Bahamas.
It is offering a full refund for those who do not wish to travel and a 50% refund for passengers joining the cruise, in addition to other incentives.
Norwegian Cruise Line has barred passengers with passports from the three regions irrespective of their place of residency. However, people with an ‘Alien Resident Card (ARC)’ or ‘Green Card’ will be permitted.
Norwegian has imposed a ban for people who have visited the three countries in the past 30 days, which is also applicable to the crew of the ships. Passengers will receive a refund on the receipt of proof of travel.
The cruise line operator will also continue with pre-boarding health reporting and evaluation. Guests who exhibit the symptoms will be subjected to medical evaluations.
Guests who exhibit respiratory illness symptoms will receive screening from the onboard Medical Centre and may be quarantined or asked to disembark.
Last week, the Government of Hong Kong suspended immigration services at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal and the Ocean Terminal.
In January, cruise line operators boosted their passenger screening procedures and issued travel advisories to ensure that their passengers are not affected.