Luxury cruise diverted amid virus fears


Cruise operator Cunard has confirmed the Queen Mary 2 liner will skip scheduled stops in Singapore and several other cities, including Hong Kong.

The vessel will instead travel directly from Malaysia to Fremantle, arriving next Tuesday before embarking on an Australian itinerary.

Passengers and crew who had travelled from or through mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau within the last 14 days would not be permitted to board.

“The health and safety of our guests and crew is of utmost importance to us,” Cunard said in a statement.

“Although the risk to our guests and crew is low, the coronavirus situation is dynamic and evolving.”

The Queen Mary 2 will skip its scheduled stops in Singapore and Hong Kong. Picture: Tim HunterSource:News Corp Australia

The luxury cruise liner will arrive in WA next Tuesday. Picture: Supplied

The luxury cruise liner will arrive in WA next Tuesday. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

The company said it would continue to conduct pre-boarding screening while the ship, which can carry about 4000 passengers and crew, would also be regularly disinfected.

WA is yet to record a coronavirus case, with more than 50 people having returned negative test results.

But the state’s economy has taken a hit due to a combination of factors related to the outbreak, including a fall in the iron ore price.

The state Labor government on Monday committed $10 million to the ailing tourism sector to be spent on marketing and discounted regional flights.

Australia’s tourism industry has taken a hit during the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

Australia’s tourism industry has taken a hit during the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: AAP Image/Darren EnglandSource:AAP

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA said the state was set to lose between $250 and $300 million in visitor spending.

“It is critical that both the state and federal governments keep their options open to potentially further support the sector and the economy,” chief executive Chris Rodwell said.

There are now a total of 40,553 cases of the coronavirus worldwide, including 15 infections in Australia. The death toll worldwide is now at 910.

Of those infections, 6500 are severe, according to official data.

– With wires



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