The Royal Caribbean has banned all travelers with a Chinese, Hong Kong or Macau passport on Friday from boarding their ships due to worries about the coronavirus.
The ban applies to anyone with one of these three passport types, regardless of when it was the last time they were in their home regions, Royal Caribbean said in a statement.
In addition, regardless of nationality, any guest or crew member who has traveled to mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau less than 15 days prior to boarding will not be able to board the company’s ships.
The new rules were announced the day Royal Caribbean delayed the departure of a ship docked in New Jersey after four passengers from the previous cruise ship were taken to the hospital for coronavirus detection.
“In line with the new, more stringent CDC protocols, we are adapting our measures to protect guests and crew. These steps are intentionally conservative and we apologize because they will disturb some of our guests,” said the cruise line in a declaration.
On Friday, 27 Chinese citizens on the Royal Caribbean ship Anthem of the Seas, returning to Bayonne, New Jersey, were screened for the virus.
A passenger who had a fever on the cruise received Tylenol and the fever disappeared, Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis said.
That person and three other people, who were under close observation for their health on the ship, were taken to Newark University Hospital, which has isolation rooms.
At least two of the four were taken from the boat on stretchers.
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Another 23 Chinese citizens were examined after disembarking from the ship. They showed no symptoms and headed to Newark Liberty International Airport for flights back to China on Friday.
The cruise was scheduled to leave New Jersey again on Friday. But the ship announced that it would delay his departure by one day even if the authorities had given him permission to leave on time.
“To reassure worried guests, we will delay our departure until tomorrow when we expect to receive conclusive results from the CDC tests,” said the ship.
Anthem of the Seas said in a statement that it appreciated the “abundance of caution” shown by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We understand that the CDC intends to analyze coronavirus samples from four guests. None of the four guests showed clinical signs or symptoms of coronavirus on board our ship,” said the note. One had tested positive for the flu.
The four passengers brought to hospital for close observation on Friday were not in China since January 26, according to the statement.
In addition to these four, all other cruise guests were able to disembark on Friday as expected and without incident.
Davis said he was told that none of the 27 people tested for the virus are from Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, or who have traveled there recently.
New Jersey governor Phil Murphy and state health commissioner told Davis that the hospital’s screening and isolation tests are done as a precaution.
Murphy said in a statement that the ship’s 27 passengers were examined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As for the four taken to hospital for careful observation, the governor said the medical center “is following the correct infection control protocols when evaluating these people.”
“New Jersey currently has no confirmed cases of new coronaviruses and the risk for residents remains low,” added Murphy.
“I have been informed of the RC cruise that has arrived this morning. I am sure that NJ DoH, CDC and PA NY / NJ are prepared and equipped to solve any problem this morning,” Davis wrote in a tweet.
A Royal Caribbean statement states that the company “is closely monitoring developments related to coronavirus and has rigorous medical protocols on board our ships,” adding that it is participating in “high levels of guest detection to control the spread of coronavirus.”
On Wednesday, the 12th confirmed coronavirus case in the United States was confirmed in Wisconsin. More than 600 people have died from the virus worldwide. Most of those deaths occurred in mainland China.