How Cruise Companies Prevent Onboard Coronavirus Spread

There are “three layers of defense” against onboard coronavirus outbreaks, said Grant Tarling, the chief medical officer at Carnival Corporation.

The first one is testing.

“Testing is obviously a very sensitive method, so we have to rely on testing being our first gate,” he said during a virtual trade event. “[But] we can’t rely on one layer – this would fail.”

The second layer, Tarling says, is monitoring for specific symptoms.

“COVID-19 has a wide variety of symptoms, so we screen for all those symptoms through declaration processes [and by performing] temperature assessments,” he said.

Once guests or crew members have gone through these two-gate criteria, asserted that they didn’t come in contact with anybody who tested positive for the coronavirus, and embarked on a vessel, the monitoring does not stop.

“Daily temperature checks are being conducted with the guests and the crew – and that’s another layer that we can put onboard the vessel. As well as, of course, constant reminders through communication channels to report any of the symptoms of COVID-19,” Tarling said.

He said he believes that the health screening and testing method, followed by the “communication-education response onboard of the vessel” takes out a case after a case.

“There’s probably no other [industry] that has so many defense layers in place,” Tarling asserted. “Whether we’re talking hotels, parks – whatever it is. There’s nothing I’ve seen or I’m aware of that has so many of these layers.”

However, Tarling added, these methods won’t ensure that there will never be a coronavirus case on a Carnival Corp. ship. What this does ensure, according to Tarling, is that those cases are identified.

“And when you have so many layers, the risk of spreading is very-very low.”

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