By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Creative Commons by NC via Bing
March 9, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisory that states, “U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship.”
The advisory cites the Centers for Disease Control’s warning that a cruise ship environment increases the risk of COVID-19 infection.
The State Department advises that many nations have denied port entry rights to ships and prevented passengers from disembarking to curb the spread of COVIC-19. Some passengers have been quarantined overseas. Although the U.S. has evacuated some cruise ship passengers recently, the State Department now warms, “repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for U.S. citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities.”
The State Department also urges older adults and travelers with underlying health issues to avoid other situations that put them at risk. This includes avoiding crowded places and avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips or cruises.
In California, the first death from COVID-19 occurred in an older passenger who traveled aboard a Princess Cruise line ship to Mexico. Passengers on a later trip also became infected. The ship was barred entry, with passengers and crew quarantined off the San Francisco coast. Some of those passengers have been ordered transferred to Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego to complete their quarantines.
The Port of San Diego is reportedly weighing how to handle numerous cruise ships slated to dock at San Diego this spring.
If you have have travel plans are advised to contact their cruise lines or other travel companies for more information. Some companies are offering full credits to delay travel until a future date.
For more information on the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation and other travel advisories, such as those now in effect for China, you can visit Travel.State.gov.
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