Imagine going on the vacation of a lifetime, and having your ship quarantined. On Friday, a Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship called “Anthem of the Seas” docked at Bayonne, New Jersey, but was met with ambulances as some of the passengers were suspected of having coronavirus (WABC). The CDC was on hand to test them as soon as the ship docked. Only 4 of the quarantined group of 27 who had been in China recently were taken to the hospital for further testing, the rest cleared. No one tested positive for the virus, when it was all said and done (Fox), with just one testing positive for the flu. But it is only one of several cruise ships, many with Americans aboard, that were quarantined.
All four passengers from the cruise ship docked in Bayonne tested negative for novel coronavirus. New Jersey currently has no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus and the risk to residents remains low.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) February 9, 2020
“Like airlines, we are participating in elevated levels of guest screening to check the spread of coronavirus. We are closely monitoring developments regarding coronavirus and have rigorous medical protocols in place onboard our ships. We continue to work in close consultation with the CDC, the WHO, and local health authorities to align with their guidance and ensure the health and wellbeing of our guests and crew.” Royal Caribbean statement
The Diamond Princess is quarantined off the coast of Yokohama, Japan since Tuesday. At last count there were 61 passengers (some Americans) that have tested positive for coronavirus out of 3,700. There are 428 Americans on board, many of which are concerned that the quarantined vessel will eventually make them all sick. (WPIX)
The culprit? Recirculated air. Two of the elderly passengers, have travel insurance, but both the US and Japanese governments will not allow them to be evacuated by Medjet. They are stuck on the ship until February 19. About 80% of those who have contracted coronavirus are elderly.
“(My husband Philip and I) are 75 and 77 years old, we have health risks and we are a bad category to get sick … We are not safe in our rooms.” Author G. Courter
Another cruise ship now in Hong Kong, the World Dream, was turned away by Taiwan with 3,600 passengers aboard. The passengers are awaiting screening for the virus, as 8 of them tested positive so far.
The Westerdam, a Holland America cruise ship that has been banned from ports in Philippines, Taiwan and Taipei, has been cruising around the East China Sea just trying to find a place where they can dock. Thus far, they have been refused at every one. So far, there is no indication that anyone on board has the virus, but ports are taking no chances. Officials are working to find a place for them.
“Holland America said they’re in discussions with the US State Department, the US Navy, and the Dutch government to try and find a solution. I have no idea what that will be or when that would be…People are angry, I think the tension is rising and everyone on this boat for the last seven days has lived under the dark shadow of wondering whether we have the virus on board.” David Holst, passenger on the Westerdam.
Most cruise lines are banning anyone temporarily that is coming from China, Hong Kong, and Macau.
The United States has offered medical assistance to the Chinese government, but thus far has been rebuffed. The Chinese government is being criticized for its response on a humanitarian level. Gordon Chang, an American lawyer, said that a citizen journalist disappeared after posting his information on the coronavirus.
Featured photo: Cruise industry photo of Royal Caribbean ship Anthem of the Seas.