By JOEL Katz, Managing Director CLIA Australasia

Stringent measures make health top priority

CLIA and our cruise line members have been working around the clock in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In close consultation with health authorities worldwide, we’ve acted swiftly and decisively in the face of unprecedented events.

It’s a difficult time, but our industry is responsive and well-equipped when it comes to the health and safety of guests and crew, which is always our top priority.

While the majority of cruises worldwide continue to sail unaffected, we are aware of the disruption many travellers have faced and the impact this has on our travel agent community. We’re also conscious of the business challenges faced throughout the tourism sector.

Globally, the cruise industry has put in place comprehensive measures that form a robust approach and provide reassurance to travellers.

CLIA ocean cruise line members — which represent approximately 95% of global cruise capacity — agreed to a set of enhanced screening measures within hours of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring COVID-19 a global health emergency.

In some cases, the measures have gone beyond what is done in other sectors and beyond the measures of the Australian government. They allow cruise lines to determine a person’s travel and contact history and deny boarding to anyone who may present an increased risk.

At the time of writing, these measures meant no passengers or crew who had come from or visited China, including Hong Kong and Macao, would be permitted to board CLIA ocean ships. By the time passengers and crew reach a ship, they will have already gone through one or more screenings, especially those arriving by plane.

Additional measures and reporting procedures continue throughout each cruise. Unlike any other mode of transport or holiday resort, cruise ships are unique in that they must have well-equipped, dedicated medical facilities and trained medical professionals onboard and available 24/7.

CLIA and cruise lines have been working alongside authorities around the world, including the WHO and Australia’s Department of Health. They continue to monitor the situation very closely and can modify policies if necessary.

Having confronted many challenges before, we know the cruise industry to be a responsive, resilient sector, and one that will remain focused on guests’ health and safety at every step of the way.

CLIA will continue to provide information and resources to travel agents wherever possible.

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