RCL bans holders of Chinese passports from boarding its ships

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL) has banned “any guests holding a Chinese, Hong Kong or Macau passports, regardless of when they were there last” from boarding the company’s ships.

The liner was placed on a two-week quarantine on arriving at Yokohama on February 3rd.

Japan’s health ministry said on Saturday that some 279 of the 3,700 people on board the ship when it arrived had been tested for the virus.

The first 61 confirmed cases are all part of a cohort of 273 people aboard the Diamond Princess who either showed symptoms or who had been in contact with a known case. Their nationalities include Argentina (one); Australia (five); Canada (five), Japan (21); United Kingdom (one) and the United States (eight).

“The quarantine end date will be February 19, unless there are any other unforeseen developments,” Princess Cruises said in a statement. “The Japanese government is also providing our ship and team members additional manpower support.”

However, if further passengers develop symptoms and test positive for the illness, the quarantine clock will be reset.

The crew has reportedly distributed thermometers to allow passengers to monitor themselves for fever. “We have instructions to monitor our temperatures and report if we’re above 37.5 [Celsius],” one passenger told Reuters.

Passengers are confined to their cabins, and crewmembers in gowns and masks are delivering food. Passengers berthed in interior staterooms are allowed periodic breaks on deck, under guidelines from Japan’s Ministry of Health.

Princess said that it was opening up more entertainment and communications options for those on board. Passengers can now access complimentary internet and telephone service, eight more satellite TV channels, 80 more video-on-demand releases, printed newspapers, games, arts and crafts, kids’ activity packs and a variety of room service food and beverage options.

Taiwan’s government said that starting from Monday February 10th it would suspend all direct passenger and freight shipping between the island and China.

Meanwhile, Marine Money China, scheduled for March 3rd and 4th in Shanghai, has been postponed, probably until November.