Cruise liners impose travel restrictions on passengers in view of outbreak
Cruise liners that sail to Singapore have banned passengers and crew members who have travelled to China within 14 days of their voyage from boarding their vessels.
A Costa Group spokesman told The New Paper that all Costa Cruises departing from ports in China have already suspended operations.
Following the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaration of a global health emergency on Jan 30, the group also banned any guests or crew members who have travelled from, to or through, China in the last 14 days from boarding their ships, regardless of nationality.
The group has also increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of common areas.
While Royal Caribbean has implemented similar measures, it has banned passengers who have travelled from, to and through China or Hong Kong.
A Royal Caribbean spokesman told TNP that all holders of China or Hong Kong passports, regardless of when they were last in these two places, will need to undergo enhanced secondary health screenings before embarkation.
The spokesman said: "It is still early to determine the impact this outbreak has on our business as well as the industry as a whole."
Several cruise ships around the world have been affected by the virus outbreak.
One of them is the Diamond Princess, where 20 people on board have been infected, Japan's Health Ministry confirmed.
The ship is docked off the coast of Yokohama, near Tokyo, with 1,045 crew and 2,666 passengers.
Norwegian Cruise Line, which also manages Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises, are taking a different approach.
Despite the coronavirus' standard incubation period of 14 days, the cruise line has disallowed passengers and crew members who have visited China within 30 days of their voyage from boarding their vessels.
A spokesman from Norwegian Cruise Line said guests who are denied boarding will be issued a refund when they provide proof of travel.
However, the spokesman added that since Hong Kong is not considered to be part of mainland China, guests who have visited Hong Kong will be permitted to sail.
World Dream, operated by Dream Cruises, confirmed that three people from mainland China who were on board had been infected.
The ship is docked at Hong Kong's Kai Tak Cruise Terminal with 3,600 passengers and crew members on board, Hong Kong's Department of Health said on Wednesday.
Dream Cruises told TNP it has been working closely with the various local and regional authorities in implementing precautionary measures. Since Jan 26, the cruise has suspended operations of its cruise services in mainland China and Chinese crew movement.