(12:50 p.m. EST) -- Cruise lines are screening passengers' temperatures and otherwise taking steps to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus onto ships that operate in China.
The virus, which originated in Wuhan, a city of more than 10 million people, has killed 17 people and infected more than 600. On January 23, China banned travel from Wuhan and two nearby cities in an attempt to control the outbreak, which comes during the busy Lunar New Year travel period.
As a preventative measure, Norwegian Cruise Line will be doing non-touch body temperature screenings for all passengers embarking from Chinese ports. Guests with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) or higher will not be allowed to board and will be directed to seek local medical treatment, according to a spokesperson for line.
"In addition, guests traveling from Wuhan, China, or who have been in the city in the last 30 days will be denied boarding," the spokesperson said. "As always, we will monitor the situation closely."
Royal Caribbean is giving all guests and crew boarding in China an "enhanced health screening before boarding," according to a statement from the line. "We are monitoring the situation closely together with health authorities, and our ships are prepared to take additional preventive measures as circumstances indicate," the line said.
Carnival Corporation told Cruise Critic that it is currently monitoring the situation. "Although the risks to our business, crew and guests are very low, the cruise industry is closely monitoring this situation,” the line said in a statement. "Our medical experts are in touch with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organizations about any recommended screenings, monitoring and protocols for our ships, which may include temperature and questionnaire screening for cruises in certain geographies, questionnaires for residents and travelers visiting certain areas, and illness screening for cases presenting to our medical centers with fever and respiratory illness while onboard."
Viking is continuing to monitor the situation regarding future ocean and river cruises. A spokesman in the U.K. office said: "Viking does not have any river or ocean sailings scheduled to call in China until March 2020. We are monitoring the Wuhan coronavirus situation closely and will continue to do so in the coming weeks, heeding guidelines from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the Centres for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation. The safety and security of our guests and crew is always our top priority; should we deem a sailing modification or other precaution is necessary, Viking Guest Services will communicate directly with any impacted guests and their travel agents about the change."
Costa Cruises said separately, "We are strictly monitoring the situation around what has been referred to as 'Wuhan Pneumonia,' which is causing concern among Public Health Authorities and the traveling public." The brand, which operates the Costa Venezia, built specifically for the Chinese market, said it has increased health and safety measures as a matter of caution. "Anyone who has an illness of international public health concern will not be permitted to sail," the cruise line said.
A spokesperson from Celebrity told Cruise Critic: "As part of our precautions, guests who have recently traveled through -- or are from -- the Wuhan region will not be permitted to board our ships at this time."
According to media reports, Xiamen-based Astro Ocean Cruises, a new Chinese line that operates a ship called Piano Land (formerly P&O Cruises' Oriana), is offering full refunds for anyone with a fever. Cruise Critic has reached out to the line for comment.