The global cruise line body has hit back at reports that the US government is considering discouraging some people from boarding ships to restrict the spread of coronavirus.
Clia described any action to restrict cruising as “unwarranted” and at odds with the World Health Organisation which “continues to advise against the application of travel or trade restrictions to countries experiencing Covid-19 outbreaks”.
The organisation’s response came as US vice president Mike Pence confirmed that 21 people on board Princess Cruises’ ship Grand Princess being held off the coast of California had been tested positive for the virus.
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Pence, who is in charge of leading the US response to coronavirus, told a White House press conference on Friday that elderly people should use “common sense and caution” when planning a trip on a cruise ship.
“Cruise ships represent a unique challenge for health officials,” he said.
“We’re going to be working closely with some great American companies in the cruise line industry to enhance and strengthen the screening procedures.”
However, the Trump administration was reported by Reuters to be considering ways to discourage travellers from taking cruises as part of wider efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Discussions were taking place ahead of a meeting between Pence and the cruise industry this weekend.
The administration could advise some or all US travellers to temporarily avoid taking cruises in the face of a growing number of coronavirus cases on cruise ships or potentially impose travel restrictions related to cruises, unnamed officials said.
Clia responded with a statement which said: “Any action to restrict cruising is unwarranted, and at odds with the World Health Organisation which ‘continues to advise against the application of travel or trade restrictions to countries experiencing Covid-19 outbreaks.’
“Singling out the travel and tourism industry, and cruise lines specifically, will have significant detrimental impacts – some possibly irreversible – on the national and local economies.”
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