Holidaymakers who have booked cruises on the MSC Orchestra -  currently operating out of the port of Durban to the islands of Mozambique -  will have to declare that they have not been to mainland China in the past 30 days and if they have, they will not be allowed to cruise. Photographer: Armand Hough /African News Agency(ANA)
Holidaymakers who have booked cruises on the MSC Orchestra - currently operating out of the port of Durban to the islands of Mozambique - will have to declare that they have not been to mainland China in the past 30 days and if they have, they will not be allowed to cruise. Photographer: Armand Hough /African News Agency(ANA)

How outbreak of coronavirus will affect passengers traveling on MSC Orchestra from Durban

By Lee Rondganger Time of article published Jan 31, 2020

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Durban - Holidaymakers who have booked cruises on the MSC Orchestra -  currently operating out of the port of Durban to the islands of Mozambique -  will have to declare that they have not been to mainland China in the past 30 days and if they have, they will not be allowed to cruise.

This radical measure is part of the shipping company's response to the outbreak of the coronavirus that has infected over 8000 people and killed nearly 200 since the outbreak earlier this month.

The measure will affect the MSC's entire global fleet, the company said in a statement on Friday.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. 

The MSC Orchestra has been operating out of Durban waters since the cruise season began in December which runs until the last departure on April 18

The shipping company said that MSC Cruises has undertaken a series of actions since 24 January, and due to the latest coronavirus developments and Friday implemented additional public health measures across its fleet. 

"While there are no cases of coronavirus on board any of MSC Cruises’ ships, these measures are additional steps to secure the health and well-being of all guests and crew," the statement said.

This is how MSC plans to prevent the coronavirus on its global line:

  • Guests from all nationalities are required to fill out a pre-embarkation questionnaire to ensure no-one who has travelled from mainland China or visited mainland China in the past 30 days boards their ship. Anyone who has travelled from mainland China or visited mainland China in the past 30 days will be denied access to the ship; 
  • Mandatory non-touch thermal scans are conducted for all guests and crew prior to embarkation for every cruise operated by the company anywhere in the world. Persons with signs or symptoms of illness such as fever (≥38 C°) or feverishness, chills, cough or difficulty breathing will be denied embarkation;
  • There is elevated deep-sanitation on every ship in the line’s entire fleet;
  • Guests who may have fever symptoms will be isolated in their cabin and the same measure will apply to their close contacts, including guests staying in the same cabin and family members, as well as any crew member who may have served these guests.

MSC said the measures follow previous actions that were taken last week. 

"Guests and crew who travelled last week from mainland China were already screened for symptoms upon embarkation, and were requested to report any symptoms of illness to the onboard medical centre. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, MSC Cruises has been closely monitoring the public health and safety situation in each of the regions where its ships sail. The company has been consulting with international and local health authorities to follow their advice and recommendations," the statement said.

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