The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is recommending that Canadians avoid all cruise ship travel due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
Cruise passengers include travellers from around the world who may be arriving from areas with known or unknown spread of COVID-19.
The virus can spread quickly on board cruises due to the close contact between passengers. Older people and people with a weakened immune system or underlying medical condition are at a higher risk of developing severe disease.
Recent cruise ship outbreaks of COVID-19 indicate that a large number of individuals onboard can become infected. While the majority of affected passengers may experience mild symptoms, there have been a significant number of cases requiring hospitalization and critical care, and some deaths have been reported.
As the situation evolves, many countries are implementing policies and restrictions in order to contain the outbreak. These restrictions may impact cruise travellers:
- ability to disembark
- access to health care
The agency advises passengers of the following scenarios if an outbreak of COVID-19 occurs on their cruise ship:
- you could be subject to quarantine procedures, on-board ship or in a foreign country
- the range of consular services available to those on cruise ships, in particular in situations of quarantine, may be significantly restricted by local authorities
- upon return to Canada, you will be required to remain in mandatory isolation for 14 days at a location determined by the Chief Public Health Officer as per the terms of any applicable emergency orders
The decision on Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease in Canada Order (Persons Not on Government Flight) is effective from February 19 to April 30, 2020.
Canadians who choose to voyage on a cruise ship should also be aware that they may not be offered the opportunity to return to Canada on a government-organized repatriation flight, or could be responsible for the costs of repatriation travel.
Government of Canada COVID-19 information line: 1-833-784-4397.
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