The cruise ship industry is bringing in “stringent, new measures” after the country’s top doctor warned Canadians against going on cruise ships as COVID-19 continues to spread.
In a Monday afternoon press release, the Canadian and Northwest chapter of Cruise Lines International Association said the measures include enhanced screening protocols and denying boarding to passengers and crew who had travelled to specific countries within 14 days of boarding. The countries from which passengers will be denied include South Korea, Iran, China, Hong Kong and any area in Italy subject to lockdown measures.
All passengers will have their temperatures checked when they board and who have travelled from Japan will have “symptom history checks” for fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Anyone with a temperature over 38 F will receive a medical assessment.
The association said it’s in talks with Canadian and American governments. Canada’s top doctor Dr. Theresa Tam issued a travel advisory against cruise ships, while the U.S. Centre for Disease Control recommended Americans avoid that form of travel.
At least two cruise ships have recorded COVID-19 outbreaks in recent weeks. The Diamond Princess had 355 out of 3,500 passengers infected, 15 of them Canadians, who were repatriated and quarantine at a military base. Another group of 228 Canadians have just landed at CFB Trenton and will undergo a 14-day quarantine after being evacuated from the Grand Princess, which is docked off the California coast. Officials said 15 people on board that cruise ship have tested positive for COVID-19, although the number of Canadians infected has not been specified.
The Grand Princess is still scheduled to dock in both Vancouver and Victoria to kick off the 2020 cruise season. In an email to Black Press Media, Port of Vancouver spokesperson Danielle Jang said they were in discussions with cruise lines about itineraries and protocol changes.
The cruise ship association said most of the more than 270 cruise ships worldwide are unaffected by COVID-19 and that all its ships must have medical facilities and trained medical professionals on board.
The cruise ship industry, the association said, brings in $3.2 billion and 23,000 jobs to Canada.
“Unprecedented disruptions in this year’s cruise season will have a significant economic impact, especially on coastal communities in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and British Columbia,” the association said.