U.S. State Department warns citizens not to take cruises as coronavirus threatens
In this photo provided by Michele Smith, a cruise ship worker cleans a railing on the Grand Princess Thursday, March 5, 2020, off the California coast. Scrambling to keep the coronavirus at bay, officials ordered a cruise ship with about 3,500 people aboard to stay back from the California coast Thursday until passengers and crew can be tested, after a traveler from its previous voyage died of the disease and at least two others became infected. A National Guard helicopter lowered test kits onto the 951-foot (290-meter) Grand Princess by rope as the vessel lay at anchor off Northern California, and authorities said the results would be available on Friday. Princess Cruise Lines said fewer than 100 people aboard had been identified for testing. (Michele Smith via AP)

Diamond cruise coronavirus
Several people have contracted the virus while on a cruise.

The U.S. State Department is warning people not to take cruises as threat from the coronavirus continues to spread and cases reported on cruise ships continue to pop up.

The department issued a travel advisory Sunday warning U.S. citizens, particularly those with underlying health issues, not to travel by cruise ship.

“CDC notes increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment,” the advisory reads. “In order to curb the spread of COVID-19, many countries have implemented strict screening procedures that have denied port entry rights to ships and prevented passengers from disembarking.”

The advisory notes that in some cases, local authorities have permitted passengers to leave the ship, but imposed quarantine procedures on passengers.

“While the U.S. government has evacuated some cruise ship passengers in recent weeks, 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 warns.

The Department of State reminds travelers that the situation is fluid as more tests continue to show the virus spreading.

They also warn older adults and travelers with underlying health issues to avoid crowded places, non-essential travel and cruise ships to limit their chance of contracting the virus.

The advisory comes as a Carnival-owned cruise ship was forced to stay offshore in South Florida as two crew members were tested for the COVID-19 virus.

The crew members transferred to a Florida-based ship from the Grand Princess cruise ship in California where 21 positive cases of the COVID-19 virus were confirmed. Of those, 19 were crew members.

The Florida-bound ship was supposed to dock in Port Everglades Sunday morning, but instead is sailing back and forth along Florida’s coast as tests are run.

Neither crew member being tested have shown symptoms of the virus, the Carnival Corporation said.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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