Passengers face the prospect of being denied boarding onto cruise ships due to enhanced screening measures being adopted by global cruise lines in response to the spread of coronavirus.
The new policies have been outlined by cruise industry body Clia.
The association said: “With strict measures in place, as guided by national and international health authorities, Clia and its member lines, in concert with pronouncements from the World Health Organisation, do not believe restrictions on the movement of ships are justified.”
Clia president and chief executive Kelly Craighead added: “The adoption of these measures further demonstrates the cruise industry’s unique ability to respond quickly as circumstances evolve.
“We remain in close contact with local governments around the world, and while we regret that these changes will result in the denial of boarding for some of our guests, travellers should know that their health and safety is the absolute priority for the industry.”
Under the changes, ships will deny boarding to anyone who has travelled from, visited or transited via airports in South Korea, Iran, China, including Hong Kong and Macau, plus areas in Italy under lockdown within 14 days prior to embarkation.
Lines will also conduct illness screening for people who have travelled from, visited or transited via airports in any destinations listed on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coronavirus disease list page within 14 days before embarkation.
“Illness screening includes symptom history checks for fever, cough and difficulty breathing in the 14 days before embarkation and taking of temperature,” Clia said.
Passengers will also be denied boarding if they have had contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having the virus or who are subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to Covid-19 within two weeks prior to sailing.
Companies will conduct pre-boarding screening “necessary to effectuate these prevention measures”.
Enhanced screening and initial medical support will be provided to anyone exhibiting symptoms of suspected coronavirus.
The association added: “In co-ordination with cruise lines, medical experts and regulators around the world, Clia and its member lines will continue to closely monitor for new developments related to Covid-19 and will modify these policies as necessary with the utmost consideration for the health and safety of passengers and crew.