Cruise lines are monitoring developments related to the coronavirus closely, including via the World Health Organisation, whose latest update continues to advise against the application of any restrictions on international travel as a result of the illness. As with any trip, whether by land, air or sea, travellers should check with public health authorities to be informed regarding health matters at the destinations they will visit, and exercise appropriate precautions.
Cruise lines maintain close contact with health professionals and regulators around the world, and are one of the most well-equipped and experienced industries when it comes to managing and monitoring health conditions. Additionally, cruise lines take precautions to conduct screening of passengers and crew, when appropriate, for illness prior to boarding. All ships implement outbreak prevention and response measures and are fitted with medical facilities and onboard medical personnel 24/7 to provide initial care in the event of illness and prevent further transmission.
In New Zealand, the Ministry of Health is working with tourism industry bodies to distribute health advice cards to accommodation providers, tour operators and cruise ships, and has also produced a fact sheet for travellers.
Public health advice to both tour suppliers’ front line staff and guests alike is to follow enhanced hygiene practices as a precautionary measure:
- avoid close contact with people suffering acute respiratory infections.
- frequently wash hands, especially after contact with ill people or their environment, make use of supplied sanitisers.
- anyone with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands).