Coronavirus: Royal Caribbean bans all Chinese nationals from its cruise ships

The measure, which also covers people with Hong Kong and Macau passports, comes as concerns grow surrounding the coronavirus, which has killed more than 600 people and affected individuals from at least 25 countries.

The announcement comes after four travellers on their Anthem of the Seas cruise ship were hospitalised in New Jersey.

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According to Royal Caribbean, the passengers had come from China for the cruise from port of Bayonne New Jersey to the Bahamas, where they were hospitalised.

In a statement, Royal Caribbean said: “None of the four guests being tested by [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] showed any clinical signs or symptoms of coronavirus.”

They added that one passenger tested positive on board for Influenza A and that they will delay their next departure until tomorrow, when they will receive “the conclusive test results from CDC”.

In addition, they said that all ships in the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd fleet will adopt the following health screening protocols:

– Regardless of nationality, any guest or crewmember traveling from, to, or through mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau less than 15 days prior to their sailing will be unable to board any of our ships.

– Any guests holding a Chinese, Hong Kong, or Macau passport, regardless of when they were there last, will not be allowed to board our ships.

– Any guest or crew member that has been in contact (which the CDC defines as six feet or two meters) with someone that has traveled from, to, or through mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau less than 15 days.

This news follows after a Holland America cruise ship was left stranded with more than 2,000 people on board after four countries reportedly denied permission for the cruise ship to dock amid coronavirus fears.

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The measures were taken by Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and the US territory of Guam, who prohibited Holland America’s MS Westerdam cruise ship from docking at their ports amid coronavirus concerns.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday that foreign passengers would not be allowed to disembark over coronavirus fears.

However the crew on-board the MS Westerdam insist that no one on board is affected.

“The ship is not in quarantine and there are no known cases of coronavirus on board,” the operator told the Daily Mail.

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The MS Westerdamn is hosting 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members.

The cruise ship embarked on a 14-day East Asia cruise which left Hong Kong on February 1 with 687 passengers still on board from a previous voyage.

According to the Mail, one passenger, Bev Thurbin, said the ship had been denied entry to the Philippines and then to Taiwan over virus fears.

The ship then sailed to Japan, where it was due to disembark in Shanghai. However, the cruise operator said this had changed and that passengers would now disembark in Yokohama.

However, those plans changed after Japan announced it would use immigration laws to block the entry of foreign passengers from the vessel.

In a statement published on their website, Holland America said: “We are quickly working to develop alternate plans and are keeping guests updated on board as information becomes available.

“As well, the latest updates will be posted under the Travel Advisory section on our website as soon as they are known. The next cruise that was scheduled to embark in Yokohama on Feb. 15 has been cancelled. Booked guests and their travel advisors will be notified.

“We are closely monitoring the evolving situation with respect to coronavirus that originated in mainland China and our medical experts are coordinating closely with global health authorities to implement enhanced screening, prevention and control measures for our ships globally.”

As it stands, the coronavirus has resulted in 638 deaths and 31,537 cases around the world.

Express.co.uk has contacted Royal Caribbean for comment.

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