• WHO Urges 'Free Pratique' For Cruise Ships, Proper Care For Travelers

WHO Director- General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and others at media briefing on COVID-19 outbreak, February 12
WHO Director- General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and others at media briefing on COVID-19 outbreak, February 12

The World Health Organization has called on countries to support "free pratique" for ships and proper medical care for travelers.

This comes after three cruise ships were denied entry to ports or experienced clearance delays amid fears over the spread of the new coronavirus.

Our Christine Min has more.


WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus raised concern about countries turning away cruise ships due to virus outbreak fears.

During a media briefing in Geneva on Wednesday, he pointed out that three cruise ships have experienced delayed port clearance or have been denied entry, often without an evidence-based risk assessment.

He said the WHO would soon issue a joint statement with the International Maritime Organization on allowing ships to enter ports based on the captain's assurance that the vessel is free from contagious disease.

[Clip: Ghebreyesus: 00:25]
"...we will issue a communique to all countries to respect the principle of "free pratique" for ships and the principle of proper care for all travelers, in accordance with the International Health Regulations...WHO has published guidance on how to handle public health events like this on ships, and we urge countries and companies to follow that guidance."

Dr. Tedros said they were also keeping a close eye on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is currently quarantined in Japan, to ensure the health of passengers on board.

His remarks came as another cruise ship, the Westerdam, was set to be welcomed by Cambodia after being turned away by four governments.

Dr. Tedros thanked Cambodia for allowing the ship with more than 2,000 people to dock in its port.

He said it's an example of the international solidarity they have been calling for, and stressed that stigmatizing individuals or entire nations does nothing but harm the response.

Christine Min, eFM News.■

<Photo: Yonhap News>
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