The international cruise line sector should upgrade its emergency
response standards to better fight potential risks created by the novel
coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, a senior executive of China's top cruise
line business association said.
Zheng Weihang, vice-president and executive general secretary of the
China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association, said complete, scientific
and rational novel coronavirus pneumonia risk prevention measures and
procedures needed to be set up worldwide, and previous disease
prevention measures should be upgraded to improve cruise ship and port
sanitation and to install quarantine professionals to tackle possible
The association is mulling new standards for the sector, seeking
advice from cruise line companies, experts, travelers and government
authorities. Cruise operators Royal Caribbean and Genting have provided
their technical facilities, advisories and disease prevention guidelines
to the association.
"The cruise line sector has stringent standards on gastrointestinal
diseases based on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but
no standards for respiratory diseases have been set up," Zheng said.
"This is part of the reason for the Diamond Princess' severe infection
The Diamond Princess ordered its 3,711 passengers to stay aboard the
cruise ship for two weeks after it returned to Yokohama, Japan, on Feb
3. Nearly 700 passengers aboard were confirmed to have the virus, and
six had died by Sunday, according to the NHK, a Japanese news agency.
Zheng urged the sector to release its latest standards on respiratory
disease prevention, including detailed specifications for air
conditioning systems and emergency prevention measures. Upgrading air
conditioning systems is costly but necessary for preventing respiratory
diseases, he said.
"The current novel coronavirus pneumonia is already a severe hit for
the sector," Zheng said, adding that well-arranged emergency rescue
guidelines and procedures were urgently needed.
A cruise ship with over 4,800 people on board that arrived in Tianjin
on Jan 25 reported no novel coronavirus pneumonia cases because of
efficient testing and strict adherence to prevention measures, according
to the cruise line company.
Costa Serena, a cruise ship that sails from Tianjin to Fukuoka and
Sasebo in Japan, returned on Jan 25 with 3,706 passengers－including 148
passengers from Hubei province, the center of the ongoing novel
coronavirus pneumonia outbreak－and 1,100 crew members, a Costa
spokesperson said recently.
During the trip, 17 people came down with fever, one of the key
symptoms of the disease. On the day of disembarkation, the ship anchored
before entering port as requested by the Tianjin government to allow
staff from the local health department and customs to board it for
inspection, the spokesperson said.
After they tested the 17 people for novel coronavirus infection, a
helicopter delivered the samples to police, who sent to them to the
local disease prevention authorities. The results of the tests were all
negative, the municipal government said.
After the inspection, the government of Binhai New Area, a district
of Tianjin, arranged for the passengers from Hubei to be quarantined at a
hotel with free medical assistance, food and accommodation. After 14
days, they were all discharged in healthy condition.
"If they had preferred to stay in Tianjin for a few days, we also
would have provided as much help as possible for them," said Yang
Maorong, director of Binhai New Area.
The company lauded the actions of the governments of Tianjin, Binhai
New Area and Dongjiang, a free trade area where the cruise liner is
berthed, as "timely and effective".