Fears for cruise travel to Cork as coronavirus spreads

Fears for cruise travel to Cork as coronavirus spreads
Liner, Disney Magic passes cruise ship Nieuw Statedam berthed at Cobh while on her way to the deep water berth at Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork last September. Ireland. - David Creedon/Anzenberger

CORK could fall victim to a drop in cruise travel as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an update to anyone with imminent cruises booked, advising all travellers, particularly those with underlying health issues, to defer all cruise ship travel worldwide.

The advice follows the news that cruise ship, the Grand Princess, was held 30 miles off the coast of San Francisco for several days after 21 people tested positive for Covid-19. Passengers on the Grand Princess are set to be evacuated in Oakland, California over the next two to three days and will be quarried for a 14 day period. The CDC has concluded that cruise ships pose a significant threat in spreading the virus. “Recent reports of Covid-19 on cruise ships highlight the risk of infection to cruise ship passengers and crew. Like many other viruses, Covid-19 appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships,” the organisation said.

The CDC has highlighted that people with underlying conditions such as heart disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes, and other conditions that cause suppression of immune system particularly among the older adults, are “at a high risk of serious disease if infected with the novel coronavirus”.“To best protect these vulnerable individuals, we recommend that such individuals avoid situations that increase their risk of acquiring infections. This entails avoiding crowded places, avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips, and especially avoiding embarking on cruise ships,” they stated.

The current advice could have an impact on the Port of Cork which welcomed a record 100 cruise liners into the harbour last year. Cruises are fast becoming the preferred means of seeing the world by more eco-conscious travellers, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Their 2019 report stated that industry is working to “minimize environmental footprints". A decline in cruse travel could also have a detrimental impact on the local economy. Last November, it came to light that on average, cruise ship passengers spend €81 during their visit to Cork while crew spend approximately €29.

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