Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has released a statement in response to the latest travel advisory issued by the U.S. State Department.
On Saturday CLIA, together with leaders of member lines, met with Vice President Mike Pence and other U.S. officials to discuss how the cruise industry can best respond to the COVID-19 crisis. During the meeting CLIA told the Vice President it would “develop a plan that builds upon our already enhanced protocols, including further enhanced screening, shipboard protocols, quarantine and monitoring arrangements, plus support for onshore medical care.”
CLIA promised to present the U.S. Administration with an industry-organized plan to manage any serious COVID-19 outbreak on an ocean-going cruise ship on a stand-alone basis on Tuesday.
Meanwhile the U.S. State Department has issued a statement saying “CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – notes increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment” and advises travelers with underlying health conditions to avoid non-essential travel such as long plane trips and embarking on cruise ships.
In her statement Kelly Craighead, President & CEO of CLIA responds: “We are surprised at the advisory, but are moving forward and remain focused on development of an aggressive, responsive plan as agreed to during the meeting with Vice President Pence that goes beyond the already significantly enhanced protocols that are in place. We look forward to submitting our plan to the Vice President imminently.”
She continues: “Our first priority is to protect our guests, our crew and the communities where we sail. This includes more stringent boarding procedures, adding additional onboard medical resources and temperature screenings at embarkation. We look forward to working with the Vice President and the federal agencies represented on the White House COVID-19 Task Force on a robust plan.”
As part of the cruise industry’s continued commitment to the health and safety of guests and crew, as well as the residents of port cities and destinations around the world, CLIA already adopted additional enhanced screening measures in response to COVID-19.
As a result of those changes CLIA members are to:
- Deny boarding to all persons who have travelled from, visited or transited via airports in South Korea, Iran, China, including Hong Kong and Macau, and any municipality in Italy subject to lockdown (quarantine) measures by the Italian Government, as designated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, within 14 days prior to embarkation.
- Conduct illness screening for all persons who have travelled from, visited or transited via airports in any destinations listed on the U.S. CDC “Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel” 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.
- Conduct temperature screening, as soon as they are capable, at initial embarkation for all persons boarding. Any individual with a temperature detected at or above 100.4° F / 38° C is to receive secondary screening to include a medical assessment.
- Deny boarding to all persons who, within 14 days prior to embarkation, have had contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having COVID-19, or who are currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to COVID-19.
- Conduct pre-boarding screening necessary to effectuate these prevention measures. Enhanced screening and initial medical support are to be provided, as needed, to any persons exhibiting symptoms of suspected COVID-19.
What steps can you take to protect yourself from COVID-19
Leading health authorities are urging the same personal best practices that are standard for a typical flu season, such as the following:
- Avoid close contact with people who show signs of illness, including coughing or sneezing
- Cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or paper tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose immediately of the tissue and wash your hands
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available