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Some cruise lines are now denying boarding to Chinese passport-holders

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Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. on Friday said it would deny boarding to holders of Chinese, Hong Kong and Macau passports. Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, are doing the same.

Heightened precautions

The companies took this step as a heightened precaution against coronavirus.

Norwegian, however, said it will allow Chinese passport holders who are US alien residents with green cards traveling on itineraries that sail from a US port and end in a US port.

Many other lines — for example, all the Carnival Corp. & plc brands, MSC Cruises and RCL family member Silversea Cruises, according to their respective spokespersons — are still allowing Chinese citizens to embark. They are held to the same coronavirus policies as all other nationalities.

Several countries are barring Chinese passport-holders

At MSC Cruises, for example, people with a Chinese passport who have not traveled from or through mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau in the past 30 days, and who are in good health, can sail. However, the company noted authorities in certain countries are temporarily not allowing Chinese passport holders to travel into their territories.

Currently, these include Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysian ports and Thailand.

All Cruise Lines International Association member lines continue their strict coronavirus precautions — again, regardless of nationality — and deny boarding to anyone who has traveled recently from or through China, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as anyone who has had close contact with somebody from those places.

‘The blanket ban by CLIA on passengers transiting through Hong Kong International Airport is unjustified,' in the view of Jeff Bent, MD of Worldwide Cruise Terminals, the company that manages and operates Kai Tak Cruise Terminal.

Bent also found the ban of Hong Kong passport holders ‘discriminatory’ and '[lacking] scientific basis.’ He pointed to the the hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong SAR passport holders living in overseas countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.

Minimum 14 days

Not every company uses the same time period for denying boarding to those who've traveled through China, Hong Kong and Macau. CLIA’s policy is 14 days, the standard incubation period recognized by the World Health Organization and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Carnival Corp. brands are in line with that.

The Royal Caribbean companies’ policy is 15 days. Like MSC Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises use a 30-day minimum.

With additional reporting from Jen Eveland 

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