Taiwan bans cruise ships which have visited China in last 14 days

Taipei Cruise ships that have visited China, Hong Kong or Macau in the last 14 days will be prohibited from entering Taiwanese ports with immediate effect, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, cruise ships which have carried passengers confirmed or suspected of suffering from coronavirus in the last 28 days will likewise be refused entry, the CECC said.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw announced the new measures at a press conference on Tuesday, following the CECC’s decision earlier that day to refuse to let passengers disembark from a cruise ship in Kaohsiung, amid reports that three people who were later diagnosed with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) had been on board the vessel in mid-January.

In a statement, the CECC said it convened a meeting Tuesday in response to the “World Dream,” which had entered Kaohsiung Harbor but not yet been given permission for passengers to disembark.

Following the CECC’s decision to deny passengers entry, the vessel departed en route for Hong Kong at around 4:00 p.m., the statement said.

However, the CECC did not clarify how it was made aware of information regarding the ship’s earlier voyage.

Meanwhile, a Taiwanese representative of the Malaysia-based Genting Group, which operates the cruiser, said in a statement Tuesday that the “World Dream” made a round-trip voyage from Guangzhou, China to Vietnam between Jan. 19 and 24.

The company said it received reports from the Chinese authorities on Sunday and Monday notifying them that three passengers on that earlier voyage had later been diagnosed with coronavirus.

According to information provided by the company, the “World Dream” left Hong Kong on Sunday carrying 1,871 passengers, and docked in Keelung Harbor on Monday, where passengers were allowed to disembark.

In its statement, the company maintained it was not aware of the information regarding the earlier cases of coronavirus when the “World Dream” docked in Keelung.

The company’s statement did not provide a detailed timeline of when it received what information — a potentially important factor, given the ship’s presence in Keelung on Monday, and attempted entry to Kaohsiung on Tuesday.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel