Cruise liner firm MSC bans passengers with recent exposure to China
No one who has travelled via mainland China in the past 30 days will be able to board ships operated by MSC Cruises, effective immediately.
This is among the precautionary measures announced by the company on Friday, in light of the coronavirus outbreak in China.
“While there are no cases of coronavirus on board any of MSC Cruises’ ships, these measures are additional steps to secure the health and wellbeing of all guests and crew,” it said.
In addition to the outright ban on passengers who have been in China over the past month, mandatory non-touch thermal scans will be conducted on all guests and crew before embarkation for every cruise operated by the company anywhere in the world.
Anyone showing signs or symptoms of illness such as fever, chills, cough or difficulty breathing will be denied embarkation.
A quarantine will be implemented for anyone who shows these symptoms after they have boarded.
“Guests who may have fever symptoms will be isolated in their cabin and the same measure will apply to their close contacts, including guests staying in the same cabin and family members, as well as any crew member who may have served these guests,” said MSC Cruises.
These measures follow previous actions that were taken last week. The company said: “Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, MSC Cruises has been closely monitoring the public health and safety situation in each of the regions where its ships sail. The company has been consulting international and local health authorities to follow their advice and recommendations.”
The US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a level 3 warning to avoid non-essential travel to China in its entirety - an escalation from previous warnings, which advised against travel to the city of Wuhan and Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.
On Thursday, SA's Flight Centre Travel Group urged travellers to reconsider all non-essential trips to China.
“Some airlines are allowing clients to refund or make changes to their travel at no additional cost, such as Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways, Air Canada, Emirates and British Airways,” the centre's Kim Taylor advised.
Tourist attractions in China, such as parts of the Great Wall of China, Beijing’s Forbidden City palace complex and Shanghai Disneyland, have been closed to visitors. Several countries have stopped flights into China.