CLIA Prepares to Stop Onboard Quarantine

file photo of Grand princess
file photo of Grand Princess

Published Mar 8, 2020 3:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) issued a statement on Saturday, following a roundtable discussion with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, saying it will implement more stringent boarding procedures, add additional onboard medical resources and temperature screenings at embarkation. It will also develop industry-funded protocols to care for guests on land in the event of an incident to eliminate future incidents of onboard quarantine. 

The CLIA expects to report back this week with further details on the development of these “aggressive new measures.”

At the meeting held in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Adam Goldstein, Chairman of the Cruise Lines International Association, said: “Given the significance of travel and tourism, it is critical that Americans keep traveling. And yet, we also recognize that this is an unprecedented situation: COVID-19.

“Our commitment here today and going forward is to work closely with government and to go above and beyond anything we are currently doing — to screen even more stringently to prevent those who should not be allowed to board; to monitor, test, and care for those who are on board; and to transition and help pay for any guests or crew to move to locations staffed and equipped to handle COVID-19 cases.

“We will work aggressively with government to further develop and strengthen all necessary protocols for prevention, for detection, and for care.”

Pence said President Donald Trump had directed him to have a meeting with cruise line industry executives. Pence continued: “In many ways, Florida is the heart of the cruise line industry. We recognize that. It’s a destination not just for Americans, but for people around the world. And I know, to date, Florida’s efforts at preparedness on the coronavirus have made a difference.

“As we seen in recent weeks, cruise ships have been especially vulnerable to the spread of the coronavirus. Some 49 Americans that we returned home were on the cruise ship the Diamond Princess. The cruise ship the Grand Princess, as you all are aware, is, as we speak, moored off the coast of California and has been so since Wednesday night.”

Pence said that, working closely with the Governor of California, the ship will be brought into a non-commercial port. All passengers and crew will be tested for the coronavirus and quarantined as appropriate. Those that require additional medical attention will receive it.

Pence and members of the Coronavirus Task Force held a press briefing on March 7.

The World Health Organization reported on March 8 that eight new areas (Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Faroe Islands, French Guiana, Maldives, Malta, Martinique and Republic of Moldova) had reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to over 100 countries that have now reported laboratory-confirmed cases. The number of COVID-19 cases globally has now surpassed 100,000.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued advice saying it recommends travelers, particularly those with underlying health issues, defer all cruise ship travel worldwide. "Cruise ship passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19."

The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs has noted the CDC recommendation, saying: "While the U.S. government has evacuated some cruise ship passengers in recent weeks, repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for U.S. citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities."