NewsHillsborough County


Uncertainty with coronavirus creating more concerns for cruise and air travelers

Travelers taking extra precautions for coronavirus
Posted at 10:29 PM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 11:23:44-05

The cruise and airline industry are two significant vectors to spread the novel coronavirus. Now, people are weighing the risk of travel with the rewards of enjoying their vacation virus-free.

A 4-day cruise on Royal Caribbean embarked from Port Tampa Bay at 4 p.m.

Passengers told ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska they had concerns but not enough to make them cancel their trip.

“I think it’s crazy. I definitely don’t want to get it, so hoping we are going to be safe good to go,” Ashley Hill said before boarding the ship Brilliance of the Seas. “They [Royal Caribbean] are taking precautions, they sent emails, so we should be good.”

Airline passengers waiting for flights at Tampa International were also monitoring the outbreak.

“Boy, I wish I wasn’t in an aluminum can with a whole mess of people who might have been in contact with a whole mess of people,” Dan Odell said. Odell is flying to Winnipeg, Canada, with his wife after spending time vacationing in Florida.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a non-travel related case in Northern California. They said the patient’s exposure is unknown.

Odell says that the case is a major red flag.

“It’s out and about somewhere, and there’s not much we can do outside of what we can do, and if it’s there, it’s there, and I just hope we manage to avoid it,” Odell said.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) posted a statement about COVID-19 on their website. It says they are enacting enhanced protocols with the health and safety of passengers as their number one priority:

"CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who have traveled from, visited or transited via airports in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 14 days before embarkation.

CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who, within 14 days before embarkation, have had close contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having COVID-19, or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to COVID-19.

CLIA Members are to conduct preboarding screening necessary to effectuate these prevention measures. Enhanced screening and initial medical support are to be provided, as needed, to any persons exhibiting symptoms of suspected COVID-19.

These measures are intentionally conservative—in some cases going beyond what is done in other sectors, further demonstrating that the industry’s highest priority is the health and safety of those on board. While the world faces ongoing challenges related to COVID-19, CLIA and its members continue to closely monitor international, regional, and national health authorities and consider updating member policies as warranted based on prevailing guidance from the global health community."

According to officials at Tampa International Airport, they are currently monitoring all CDC guidelines but are not testing passengers for coronavirus, but said in an email that “our Customs officers routinely look for signs of ill passengers. We do not have nonstop/direct flights from Asia or areas of the outbreak, so any international passengers coming from those areas would be screened at other airports before connecting to Tampa."