As the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread around the world, following the US government’s action, the Australian government has also advised its Australians to “reconsider” taking an overseas cruise ship.
SmartTraveller website advice:
“Australians, particularly those with underlying health concerns should reconsider taking an overseas cruise at this time due to COVID-19,” the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on its SmartTraveller website.
“There have been instances of cruise ships being put into quarantine, countries preventing disembarkation of ships or denying entry to ports. The itineraries of a number of cruise ships have changed. Disruptions to cruise ship itineraries due to COVID-19 can have significant consequences for travellers. The situation is fluid and you can expect further disruptions.
Due to the #COVID19 outbreak, you should reconsider taking an overseas cruise at this time. If in doubt, consult a medical professional before travelling. For more information, please visit https://t.co/NTjG2JsRFS.
— Smartraveller (@Smartraveller) March 9, 2020
“Repatriation from cruise ships affected by COVID-19 should not be relied upon as an option”.
“If, despite our advice, you proceed with your cruise and you’re concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on your plans, check with your travel agent or cruise company and read and subscribe to our travel advisories for your destinations, including transit locations, ” the advice continues.
It is not surprising that the government has so chosen to advise Australians to reconsider particularly when Italy has declared the whole of Italy as the red zone and placed a country-wide travel ban on its 60 million residents. In Italy more than 7000 people have been reported to be infected and 366 died from the infection.
Also read: All you need to know about coronavirus
“This is obviously a very significant development. It just reflects the uncertainty and the seriousness of the spread of the coronavirus”, federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has .
Italy for its part, perhaps being wisely more circumspect than many others, had declared its travel bans more than a month ahead of the busy Easter holiday season.
Although the federal government continues to advise travellers to Italy to “exercise a high degree of caution”, chances are there will be no one planning to go there as of now.
Over in the US
The Cruise ship – the Grand Princess, which has 21 confirmed cases of coronavirus on board had been waiting for the Californian authorities to dock. It had been idling off the coast of California for four days while authorities were taking time to work out how to get passengers ashore while protecting the locals from potential outbreak and spread of the deadly virus.
Californian authorities have finally allowed it to dock.
As per the plan in place, sick passengers and crew will be taken straight to hospitals, while those not requiring immediate care will go into quarantine. There are four Australians among 2000 plus passengers and crew on the ship.