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Cruise line operators have boosted their passenger screening procedures and issued travel advisories to ensure that their passengers are not affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The new virus that appeared in Wuhan, China, in December last year. Due to the virus, 17 people have died and 600 have been infected.

The coronavirus is part of the same family as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which led to the death of approximately 700 people almost two decades ago.

Norwegian Cruise Line has introduced non-touch temperature screenings for all passengers boarding its ships from ports in China to prevent the spread of infection on ships.

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The cruise line has said that people who have a body temperature of 100.4˚F (38˚C) will not be allowed to board the ship.

In addition, passengers who have visited or stayed at Wuhan in the past 30 days will be denied access to the ship.

Astro Ocean Cruises said that it would fully refund the cruise cost to passengers who have been infected by the virus.

The company added that passengers departing from the virus epicentre, Wuhan, will also be given refunds if they cannot board the ship, citing ‘pneumonia-related management measures’.

In addition, medical personnel who cannot travel can change the date of sailing or can obtain a refund.

Costa Cruises issued a similar statement and is reportedly working with authorities at the port to increase the screening procedures for passengers who may have a fever.

The outbreak dented stock values of cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Carnival.

Airports around the world have started screening passengers arriving from China, including Hong Kong, for the coronavirus.