Some people 70+ should be barred from boarding cruise ships, industry proposal says

2020-03-11 12:21:31

The Grand Princess cruise ship passes beneath the Golden Gate Bridge in this view from Sausalito, Calif., March 9, 2020.
The Grand Princess cruise ship passes beneath the Golden Gate Bridge in this view from Sausalito, Calif., March 9, 2020.

A proposal submitted to the White House Tuesday by the leading cruise trade organization would deny cruise boarding to any person over 70 unless they present a doctor’s note verifying their fitness for travel.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) submitted a plan to Vice President Michael Pence proposing enhanced measures across the industry as the coronavirus pandemic rages on, forcing two ships of passengers into quarantine and escalating fears on others.

According to the proposal, boarding should be denied to any person over the age of 70 years unless they are able to present a doctor’s note verifying their fitness for travel on a cruise ship, according to a person familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly. 

Similarly, any person with a chronic medical condition who could be at an increased risk if they were to contract COVID-19 should be barred from getting on a cruise ship. 

At a briefing Tuesday night, Pence confirmed he had received CLIA’s proposal. “We’ll be reviewing that in the next 24 hours,” he added. “The President’s objective is for us to make cruise lines safer, even as we work with the cruise lines to ensure that — that no one in our particularly vulnerable population is — is going out on a cruise in the near future.”

The group also proposed additional restrictions based on where cruise passengers have traveled.

The recommendation from CLIA to the White House suggests that Japan and Italy should be added to the list of countries whereby passengers and crew will be denied boarding if they have traveled there within 14 days prior to embarkation.

South Korea, Iran, China, Hong Kong, Macau and affected areas of Italy are already on that list of countries. 

Additionally, CLIA added initial embarkation temperature screenings over the weekend. Anyone with a temperature at or higher than 100.4 will be denied boarding. Before the new policy was instituted, that would have resulted in a secondary medical assessment.

As of Wednesday, coronavirus had infected more than 121,500 people and killed 4,373 globally, according to Johns Hopkins data. 

The passengers of two of Princess Cruises’ ships, Diamond Princess and Grand Princess, have been quarantined abroad and in the U.S. Nearly 700 people contracted coronavirus after being quarantined on board the Diamond Princess and at least 21 people have tested positive after being on Grand Princess. 

Other ships have been turned away from ports for fear of the virus, including Holland America’s MS Westerdam, which found itself in limbo in February.

Since the outbreak began, CLIA has issued increased screening measures and updated them on a few separate occasions

CLIA is the largest cruise trade industry and the voice and “leading authority” for the global cruise community. Its member ships make up 95% of ocean-going cruises. 

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Proposal to White House: Cruise industry to bar people 70+ from ships

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