Several U.S. businesses that operate in China are taking precautions amid the mysterious Wuhan coronavirus outbreak that has claimed 56 lives in China and sickened nearly 2,000 people. The virus has spread to neighboring counties such as South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Thailand.
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The respiratory virus has made it overseas with a fifth case of coronavirus in the U.S. confirmed Sunday.
In response to the outbreak, American-owned cruise lines and resorts are suspending operations until the situation is contained.
Royal Caribbean International, the world’s largest cruise line, initially announced it would not allow Wuhan residents or individuals who have recently traveled through the town to board its ships, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company is committed to helping guests modify itineraries, a spokesman told the publication.
By Saturday, Royal Caribbean canceled its Jan. 27 sail on the 1,139-foot Spectrum of the Seas ship, which was scheduled to set sail from Shanghai to Japan, according to Cruise Industry News.
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Carnival Cruise Line’s medical team is in talks with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization about passenger health screenings, monitoring and ship protocols, according to a Carnival spokesman said.
The screening may include temperature checks and questionnaires for passengers entering from China, though, plans have not been finalized at the time of publication.
Norwegian Cruise Line, on the other hand, has introduced non-touch temperature screenings for all passengers boarding its ships from Chinese ports to prevent the flu-like virus from spreading. Those who have a body temperature of 100.4˚F will not be allowed to board.
Individuals who have lived or traveled through Wuhan in the last 30 days will be turned away as well, according to a report from the International Business Times.
Celebrity Cruises and Costa Crociere echoed similar prohibitive policies for sick and unafflicted passengers who have been through Wuhan as of late, as obtained by industry news website Cruise Critic on Thursday.
However, Costa canceled a series of cruises throughout Europe that were scheduled for the end of the month and early February – which may have to do with France’s confirmed coronavirus case on Friday. Passengers are being offered refunds or alternative sailing dates.
Geneva-based MSC Cruises has also followed suit with its Jan. 28 sail from Shanghai.
FOX Business reached out to Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney – other major players in the commercial sailing industry – to see if its passenger vessels will take precautions to curb outbreaks among guests. FOX Business did not receive a response at the time of publication.
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The Walt Disney Company announced it would close its Disneyland and Disneytown parks in Shanghai temporarily this weekend.
“We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and be in close contact with the local government,” executives at the Shanghai Disney Resort wrote in a statement Friday, which also explained that the closure would be instated the following day.
The company added that it would refund park tickets, resort hotel bookings and show tickets for the Beauty and the Beast Mandarin Production. Before the closure, visitors to Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland were pictured wearing protective face masks, as highlighted by Walt Disney World News Today.
Hong Kong Disneyland followed suit on Sunday, though, the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort hotels are remaining open.
The coronavirus outbreak has hit during the Lunar New Year holiday, which is one of Asia’s busiest travel periods. It has also dented stock values for publicly traded cruise lines.
Chinese-owned Astro Ocean Cruises is offering refunds to anyone who has a fever while Genting Dream has canceled a turnaround call in Guangzhou for its World Dream ship.
Halting of outbound travel from China may have an impact on the cruise industry since the massive country is a source market throughout American and European cruise lines.
Last year’s report from the Cruise Lines International Association found that 28.2 million people took a cruise in 2018. Of that number, 2.4 million were cruisers from China.