Feb 28, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus dampens cruise travel

In this image, the Diamond Princess cruise ship is visible

The Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama port on Feb. 27. Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images

Many travelers are delaying or canceling previously scheduled cruise trips, AP reports, as some ships are turned away from ports amid fear of the global coronavirus outbreak.

Context: Two elderly passengers among hundreds quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship died after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, Japan's health ministry reported last week. All guests disembarked the ship on Thursday after being quarantined for weeks, the cruise line said, but roughly 500 employees remained on board as of Thursday.

What's happening: Cruise lines are barring passengers who have traveled to China in recent weeks, AP reports. Companies like Royal Caribbean are also refusing those who have recently been to South Korea, Iran or Italian regions Veneto or Lombardy.

  • A MSC Cruises ship couldn't dock in two Caribbean countries after a crew member caught a common flu, per AP.
  • The Dominican Republic turned away a Fred Olsen Cruise Lines ship on Thursday "because officials feared eight of those aboard, including two U.S. citizens, showed potential symptoms of the virus," per AP.

Where it stands: The World Health Organization raised its global risk assessment for the novel coronavirus to "very high" on Friday. COVID-19 has killed more than 2,870 people and infected about 84,800 others in almost 60 countries and territories outside the epicenter in mainland China.

  • There are currently 2,337 confirmed cases in South Korea, 388 cases in Iran and 888 cases in Italy, according to Johns Hopkins' Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Go deeper: Cruise ship evacuations: More Americans test positive for coronavirus

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