How Cruise Companies Prevent Onboard Coronavirus Spread

Costa welcomes guests aboard for the first time on Sept. 6

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.

Cleaning Onboard

“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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