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Belize believed sole destination to require special Ebola screening for cruise ships

Belize believed sole destination to require special Ebola screening for cruise ships
Belize—believed to be the only cruise destination currently mandating an extra layer of Ebola screening for passenger ships—has expedited the process to reduce clearance delays, according to cruise operators.

Seatrade Insider has been told there is currently no Ebola screening policy for cruise arrivals in Jamaica, despite media reports of plans for this at the port of Falmouth.

In Belize, the procedure—according to Carnival Cruise Lines—involves a public health official boarding the ship with the pilot to meet with a member of the guest services management to review the passenger and crew manifest, countries of origin and any additional documentation the health officer may wish to see related to specific individuals.

'Initially the process was causing some arrival delays for the ships. However, it seems to be working more smoothly now,' a Carnival spokeswoman said.

A Royal Caribbean spokeswoman concurred there have been no delays for clearance in Belize.

Cruise ships themselves screen for Ebola.

Any passengers or crew who have visited or traveled through Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea within 21 days of a cruise departure date are denied boarding, along with anyone who has had physical contact with, or helped care for, a person with Ebola within 21 days, according to Cruise Lines International Association members.

Additionally, passengers must answer a series of health screening questions during embarkation and, if deemed necessary, must submit to further medical screening prior to being allowed to board.

The Ebola measures are mandatory for CLIA members, and the association requires member cruise lines to verify in writing that they have implemented them.

CLIA said it and member cruise lines are actively monitoring the Ebola situation and remain in constant contact with public health authorities.