News broke over the weekend that an elderly tourist in Paris became the first person in Europe to die from the virus – the 80-year-old Chinese man who hailed from the province of Hubei had been being treated in a French hospital since 25 January. His was one of 12 cases reported in France and his death comes amid news that new Covid-19 case numbers in China have begun to drop.
Elsewhere, cruise operators are taking ‘aggressive steps’ to mitigate the spread of the virus, especially following reports of more confirmed cases onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan and the luxury liner, MS Westerdam, that was turned away from five ports despite no known cases of the virus onboard.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd cancelled 18 cruises in Southeast Asia on Thursday after calling off eight trips to China last week. “It is important that every organisation acts responsibly, and we have already taken aggressive steps to minimise risk through boarding restrictions and itinerary changes,” Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain said in a statement.
In addition, both Royal Caribbean Cruises and Carnival Cruises have introduced enhanced safety measures, denying permission to board to booked guests who have been through mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau in the preceding two weeks, and initiating mandatory health screenings of other guests who may be at risk due to their travel history.
Elsewhere, the Norwegian Spirit liner will no longer conclude its March cruise in Singapore but rather in Greece, and its Asia itineraries from April through December 2020 have also been cancelled, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings said.
At the time of writing, there are currently 71,444 confirmed cases of Covid-19 now reported across 29 countries; 70,553 of which are in China; 454 onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship; 77 in Singapore; 65 in Japan; 58 in Hong Kong; 35 in Thailand; and 30 in South Korea. Cases have also been confirmed in other regions of Asia and in countries including the US, UK, Europe, Australia, Canada and the UAE. For full figures follow this link: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries.