U.S. and foreign cruise lines are now denying boarding to guests and crew members who have recently been in China over fears that their ships could contribute to the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The move comes after a number of, canceling sailings to and from the nation where the flu-like illness, formally known as the 2019-nCoV, is believed to have originated.
The Japanese government on Monday also said it would quarantine a Carnival-owned Princess Cruises ship after a guest who'd sailed from Yokohama, Japan, to Hong Kong last month tested positive for Coronavirus on Saturday, Reuters reported. Government health authorities are checking nearly 3,000 guests and more than 1,000 crew members for any signs of the virus, the company said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch.
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said last week that its members are taking extra safety measures to prevent an outbreak of the virus on board their ships, where the close quarters could lead to a rapid spread of infected passengers. It applies to all guests and crew members who have been in China within the past 14 days.
"CLIA members have suspended crew movements from mainland China and will deny boarding to any individual, whether guest or crew, who has traveled from or through mainland China within the previous 14 days," the association's Hamburg office said.
Its member cruise lines include U.S. companies Carnival Cruises and Royal Caribbean as well as Germany's AIDA and TUI lines, Italy's Costa Cruciere and MSC of Switzerland, some of which are enforcing even more stringent rules.
MSC is requiring that no individual who has traveled from or visited mainland China within the past 30 days board any of its ships. It is also conducting non-touch thermal scans for all guests and crew on every cruise anywhere in the world. Guests or crew members with fever, chills, cough or difficulty breathing will not be allowed on board, the company said in a statement to CBS News.
Eleven of the more than 17,000 coronavirus cases worldwide are in the U.S. Some of the screening measures employed by the cruise lines include questionnaires and travel document checks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said It can take up to 14 days for someone who is sick to show symptoms. The spread of the coronavirus from person to person typically happens between people who come within six feet of one another and the virus is transferred via respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes, the CDC said. It's not clear if a person can contract the virus by touching a contaminated surface and then touching their own mouth or nose, according to the CDC.
Thousands of tourists were recently held on a Carnival-owned cruise ship at an Italian port near Rome while two Chinese passengers were tested for coronavirus. Both passengers tested negative for the virus, and the passengers were allowed to disembark.