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Cruise lines take a tough stand on ebola screenings

If you’ve boarded a cruise before, you’ll understand the procedure at check in when passengers are asked to fill in a health questionnaire – used primarily to stop the spread of norovirus amongst the thousands of passengers on board.

As of this week, cruise lines are beginning to ask more focused questions about whether passengers have had contact with a person with the ebola virus or someone who has helped care for a patient suffering from the virus.

The Cruise Line International Association have released a statement saying, “Working with cruise line health and medical professionals, CLIA have provided its member cruise lines with a sample protocol that includes denial of boarding for all passengers and crew arriving from countries designated with a Level 3 Travel Health Warning by CDC. Additional measures include denial of boarding to passengers and crew who travelled to, in or through those countries within a minimum of 21 days before embarkation.”

The huge cruising organisation added, “Further, we have now recommended additional ‘contact screening’ in addition to travel history screening, and denial of boarding for anyone who had physical contact with, or helped care for, a person with ebola during the same time frame.”

Level 3 Travel Health warnings have urged people to ‘avoid nonessential travel’ to the countries affected by the virus, which currently includes Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Several cruise lines have now implemented more stringent ebola screening, which all began when a Carnival Cruise Lines ship announced that a Dallas healthcare worker who may have handled lab specimens from an ebola victim had been placed in isolation on the Carnival Magic ship, which was subsequently denied clearance at Cozumel.

Both Princess and Royal Caribbean Cruise lines have posted public notices announcing their intention to stringently screen passengers before they come aboard their ships.

Princess stated they would “deny boarding to any guest who has had physical contact with or helped care for a person suspected of having ebola or diagnosed as having ebola within a minimum of 21 days before embarkation until further notice.”

Royal Caribbean have also commented, saying they have “strong and serious screening measures in place designed to prevent any at-risk person from boarding our ships. We have been working closely with CLIA on ebola protocols that the entire industry is following.”

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