Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas has been cleared by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to sail its next itinerary, despite news reports from Friday suggested that the ship, which was returning to New Jersey after a Bahamas itinerary, was sending guests to local hospitals over coronavirus fears.
According to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, 27 Chinese nationals onboard were screened by the CDC on Friday after one reported a fever during the sailing. Four were sent to a local hospital for evaluation and all other guests were allowed to disembark as usual. One guest, according to Royal Caribbean, tested positive for Influenza A and “none of the four guests showed any clinical signs or symptoms of coronavirus while they were onboard our ship."
Royal’s records also indicated “the guests had not been in China since January 26 — 14 days ago.”
In his statement, Murphy also wrote that “New Jersey currently has no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus and the risk to residents remains low.”
Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis also provided on update. "I was advised CDC considers this 'Below Low Risk' situation. All other passengers released w/no action needed," he said.
Royal Caribbean said on social media that it would be “conducting enhanced sanitation in the cruise terminal and onboard, as part of our ongoing illness prevention efforts” and that the ship had been cleared to sail its next itinerary, though Royal will delay to wait for final results from the CDC.
“We have also been cleared by authorities to depart on our next cruise as usual. However, to reassure concerned guests, we will delay our departure until tomorrow, when we expect to receive conclusive test results from CDC,” Royal said in a statement.
Royal announced earlier this week that "any guest or crew member traveling from, to, or through mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau less than 15 days prior to their sailing will be unable to board any of our ships" and that it has tightened health screening requirements for a number of other guests including "anyone that has been in contact with individuals that have traveled from, to, or through mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau in the last 15 days; anyone that holds a Chinese, Hong Kong, or Macau passport – regardless of when they were there last; anyone that feels unwell or demonstrates flu-like symptoms."
"These measures will help reduce the potential for the virus to further spread, and will ensure the health of our guests and crew. We thank everyone for their patience and understanding."