PHILIPSBURG–Port St. Maarten said in a press release on Sunday that it is working closely with Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and its cruise partners regarding protocols being put in place for the safety of cruise passengers and crew members in response to the outbreak of a new coronavirus in China.
This coronavirus – dubbed 2019-nCoV by scientists – is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses (CoVs) are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Coronaviruses are zoonotic diseases, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.
“St. Maarten’s constant proactivity and communication with FCCA and our [cruise – Ed.] member lines have again been assured that the destination [St. Maarten – Ed.] is well-prepared to handle a potential outbreak, as unlikely as it may be, with the cruise industry actively monitoring the situation through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). Having both pre-boarding measures and onboard protocols for handling infectious disease, many of which go above-and-beyond those required by CDC and WHO,” said FCCA President Michele Paige on Sunday.
According to the press release, the cruise industry, through the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), is in “continuous discussions with the CDC and WHO with respect to the recommendations and advice they would give to the global travel industry.”
WHO said on its website on Friday that “with the information currently available for the novel coronavirus, WHO advises that measures to limit the risk of exportation or importation of the disease should be implemented, without unnecessary restrictions of international traffic.”
“The safety of the local population, cruise passengers and crew are of paramount importance and therefore the port will continue to work with FCCA and all cruise partners to ensure that various protocols, as recommended by the cruise industry, are implemented as well as with Emergency Support Function (ESF) 10, the St. Maarten Shipping and Maritime Inspectorate and the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA, where an existing working relationship for health pre-clearance protocols is already in place for visiting cruise ships,” said Port St. Maarten.
Bron: Daily Herald