CARNIVAL boss Arnold Donald has slammed the blame put on cruise ships in causing coronavirus to spread, claiming it was easy to social distance on them as a “ship is so large”.
He added that they were “not the source” and that there were limited numbers of cases on the other cruise ships around the world.
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Arnold said in an interview: “We have hundreds of cruise ships out there. Very few had cases on them.
“The one that had the most cases was very early on, when no one understood hardly anything.”
He compared a cruise ship to Central Park when it came to having enough space for everyone.
The CEO added that they were “more sanitary than other environments such as movie theatres or concert halls”.
Cruise ships are often well-equipped to handle outbreaks, with norovirus a common sickness to spread across a ship.
If an infectious virus is detected, passengers are often isolated in their rooms while the rest of the ship takes special measures such as additional cleaning.
However, following a number of coronavirus outbreaks on cruise ships, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has warned against all trips on them.
The Diamond Princess was the worst affected, which resulted in a month-long quarantine on the coast of Japan with more than 700 cases and eight deaths.
Another ship, the Grand Princess, was forced to quarantine 3,000 people in the US after cases of coronavirus were confirmed.
The CDC confirmed in a statement: “Outbreaks of COVID-19 on cruise ships pose a risk for rapid spread of disease beyond the voyage.”
“Aggressive efforts are required to contain spread. All persons should defer all cruise travel worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Cruise liners have suspended their sailings – some indefinitely, and some hoping to sail again in coming months.
Carnival Cruises could be the first to relaunch their ships, with their 30-day suspension ending on April 10. However, a decision on whether to push this back will be announced tomorrow.
Traces of coronavirus have been found on surfaces in a cruise cabin of an infected passenger.
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The study was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on the Diamond Princess which previously reported more than 700 cases of coronavirus.
However, the study could not confirm whether this meant the virus could be transmitted from the surfaces to people, depending on its survivability.
The coronavirus death toll has reached 20,000 across 182 countries – with three billion people around the world now in lockdown.
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