People look out from aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, operated by Princess Cruises, as it … [+]
Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images
Topline: The U.S. State Department advised against traveling via cruise ship on Sunday after a second vessel carrying U.S. citizens confirmed several cases of coronavirus on board last week.
- The State Department said U.S. citizens, especially those with underlying health conditions, should not take cruises because a cruise ship environment poses an increased risk of infection.
- Passengers who have already purchased tickets should contact the cruise lines directly, the advisory says.
- The dramatic move comes as U.S. officials contend with a second major coronavirus cruise ship outbreak aboard the Grand Princess.
- The first major outbreak was aboard the Diamond Princess, which was quarantined off Japan in February and saw cases increase from 10 to more than 600 in a matter of weeks.
- While the U.S. eventually evacuated U.S. citizens on the Diamond Princess, “repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for U.S. citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities,” the advisory says.
- Read the full warning here.
Chief critics: A cruise industry trade group slammed the advisory last week after Reuters reported such a travel warning was in the works. “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,” Cruise Lines International Association said in a statement. The group announced Sunday it will take additional measures to protect passengers, including denying people who have traveled to infected areas and conducting temperature checks on all passengers.
News peg: Twenty-one people on board the Grand Princess cruise ship have tested positive for Covid-19 after a former passenger died from the virus in California last week. The ship will dock in Oakland and passengers will go to facilities in their home states for testing and isolation, while crew will be quarantined and tested on board.
Tangent: As the Centers for Disease Control faces criticism for its lack of testing kits, President Donald Trump—who is not a public health expert—said he prefers Grand Princess passengers to stay on board because he doesn’t want the number of cases in the U.S. to go up. “I like the numbers where they are. I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship,” he said.