(CMR) The U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisory earlier today warning U.S. citizens not to take cruises as there is an increased risk of infection of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, on cruise ships.
The release in part said:
“U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship.”
The warning is seen as a significant blow to one of South Florida’s largest industries and in particular Carnival Cruise Lines Ltd. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also issued a warning, urging people to “defer all cruise ship travel worldwide.”
The warnings come after two cruise ships owned by Carnival had multiple cases of infected persons on board. The Grand Princess had 21 cases of the virus with 19 being crew members. It will be docking in California tomorrow. On Sunday afternoon, California Governor, Gavin Newsom, explained that the sickest people would be evacuated off the cruise ship first after it docks. U.S. residents will be transported to two military bases for further testing. and an additional 14-day quarantine. The 1,000 + crew members will be quarantined onboard the ship.
Several crew members were transferred to several other ships about two weeks ago. The CDC issued a “no-sail order” for the Regal Princess ship Sunday while the agency tested the two crew members for COVID-19. The ship sailed back and forth off the Florida coast all day Sunday. At around 6:30 p.m., the CDC lifted the order and announced the results were negative. The ship finally docked at Port Everglades around 10 p.m.
The Diamond Princess had almost 700 infected onboard during quarantine in Japan last month.
Several crew members from the Grand Princess transferred to other ships about two weeks ago, including two to the Regal Princess, based in Fort Lauderdale.
“American people value our cruise line industry, it brings great joy and great entertainment value for Americans,” he said. “We want to ensure Americans can continue to enjoy the opportunities of the cruise line industry.”