In updated guidance issued by the CDC on Monday, it recommended that all cruise ship and river boat travel be avoided anywhere in the world during the spread of the coronavirus. The announcement comes as nearly 150 countires worldwide have reported a confirm case.
The recommendation is especially important for older individuals, and those with a serious chronic medical condition.
The CDC noted several recent examples of where the the coronavirus spread among passengers on board cruise ships. Recent examples include 696 cases and 8 deaths on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan and 28 cases on the Grand Princess cruise ship in the United States, the CDC said.
The CDC issued the following recommendations to tell patients who plan on going on cruise ships and river boats:
- Advise patients to defer all cruise ship travel, including river cruises, worldwide.
- Explain that their return travel to the United States may be impacted, and formal quarantine procedures may be implemented if confirmed cases are identified on board.
- Explain that appropriate medical care or medical evacuation may not be available internationally.
- Explain that some countries may refuse docking or disembarkation if there are known or suspected cases on board.
- For patients who still intend to cruise, advise them to practice social distancing and monitor their health both during travel and for 14 days from the time they disembark. Social distancing means staying out of crowded places, avoiding group gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others, when possible.
The guidance came on the same day that President Donald Trump and leading health officials suggested that gatherings of 10 or more people pose a risk to older and disabled people. The CDC also said all gatherings of 50 or more people should be outright postponed amid the spread of the coronavirus.