A MERS outbreak scare in trendy, tourist-friendly South Korea impacts travel, as major cruises halt calls to the country in keeping with passenger safety.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (“MERS”) is a new viral illness affecting the respiratory system, discovered in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It has been reported that 3-4 of every 10 patients have died of the dreaded disease, which has made appearances in 26 other countries over the last few years. The largest known outbreak of the illness beyond the Arabian Peninsula is occurring in the Republic of Korea, where the first MERS patient was identified in May and over 160 people have since been diagnosed and 24 people have reportedly died.
Amidst the scare in South Korea, major cruise player Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has canceled calls to the country. Affected ships include Mariner of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and the SkySea Golden Era. In the alternative, the company has made itinerary adjustments to stopping at alternative ports in Japan or spending an extra day at sea.
Aside from halting calls to South Korea, the line is also being proactive in working to prevent infections on board; they are providing information on proper hygiene and symptoms of the disease to passengers, and are also being vigilant with screening for symptoms prior to boarding. Should passengers exhibit symptoms, there are also isolation and treatment procedures in place on board.
Recent reports state the South Korean outbreak may finally be ‘leveling off,’ but for cruise companies entrusted with the safety and well-being of thousands of passengers and crew per trip – not to mention the hundreds of thousands if not millions of people they will eventually encounter when they come home – disease outbreaks are serious issues where caution and prevention is regarded as the best course of action.
At Kemplon Engineering, we too put a high premium on safety, and make it a part of our company culture. To learn more about our commitment to quality and safety, check out our website and learn more about us, and the wide range of marine and industrial engineering services we provide (such as welding and fabrication, precision machining, pipe fitting, laser cutting and more). For more news and developments in the maritime industry, you may also enjoy exploring our blog, which is frequently updated with articles on the issues of the day.
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).” CDC.gov. Web. Accessed 19 Jun 2015. http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/
Hanna, Jason and Eve Parish. “Thailand confirms its first case of MERS, outbreak ‘leveled off’ in South Korea.” CNN, 19 Jun 2015. Web. 19 Jun 2015. http://edition.cnn.com/2015/06/18/health/thailand-mers/
Kramer, Gina. “Cruise Lines Cancel South Korea Calls Due to Outbreak.” Cruise Critic, 12 Jun 2015. Web. 119 Jun 2015. http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=6404
“Royal Caribbean Drops South Korea Calls amid MERS Outbreak.” World Maritime News, 12 Jun 2015. Web. 19 Jun 2015. http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/163597/royal-caribbean-drops-south-korea-calls-amid-mers-outbreak/
“Royal Caribbean Halts Korean Calls Following Outbreak.” The Maritime Executive, 12 Jun 2015. Web. 19 Jun 2015. http://maritime-executive.com/article/royal-caribbean-halts-korean-calls-following-outbreak
Thakkar, Emrys. “Royal Caribbean Stop Calls To South Korea Due To MERS Outbreak.” Cruise Hive, 11 Jun 2015. Web. 19 Jun 2015. http://www.cruisehive.com/royal-caribbean-stop-calls-to-south-korea-due-to-mers-outbreak/7111