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Wuhan, center of Coronavirus outbreak, being cut off by China

PortandTerminal.com, January 22, 2020

NEW YORK – The New York Times is reporting today that Chinese authorities plan to close off Wuhan — a city of more than 11 million people and the epicenter of a mysterious, pneumonia-like virus that has already spread halfway around the world — cancelling planes and trains leaving the city beginning Thursday, and suspending buses, subways and ferries within it.

The announcement comes after a sharp spike in the number of cases reported of the virus. At least 17 people are dead in China and more than 500 infected as the Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread throughout Asia and across the world. Today the first case was also reported in the United States.

The Chinese authorities said that the measures in Wuhan, which would take effect at 10 a.m., were needed to “effectively cut off the transmission of the virus, resolutely curb the spread of the epidemic, and ensure the safety and health of the people.”

On the stock market, the spread of the contagious disease in China weighed heavily on several companies, especially those with considerable revenue exposure to the Asian country. 

Cruise operators were among the worst hit. Shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival Corp and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings lost 4.7%, 2.6% and 3.2%, respectively.

One cruise line, Astro Ocean Cruises, has said that it is offering full refunds to any passengers that have a fever or have been diagnosed with the virus. In addition, for groups departing from Wuhan, where most cases have been concentrated, refunds are also on the table if guests cannot join the trip due to “pneumonia-related management measures.”

READ: Are cruise lines ready to deal with the new pandemic out of China?

The company also said medical personnel that are unable to travel are also eligible for refunds or have the option to change their sailing to a future date.

Costa also issued a statement, saying it was working with port authorities to strengthen passenger screening procedures for guests that may have a fever.

The Italian brand is also modifying cruise policies to allow for full refunds for guests that have the virus or have a fever; as well as any guest from the Wuhan area; and similar to Astro Ocean, medical staff that cannot travel due to work commitments.

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