Line drops South Korea calls amid MERS outbreak

Royal Caribbean cruise line has cancelled port calls to South Korea amid outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) which has killed eleven people in the country already.

The cancellation relates to calls by Mariner of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas and SkySea Golden Era.

The port calls have been replaced with an alternate port or a sea day, the cruise line was reported as saying.

In addition, the outbreak has seen cruise ships departing from Shanghai drop South Korea calls, heading straight to Japan or making other readjustments, the Shaghai Daily reports.

Cruise ship Sapphire Princess, scheduled to depart from Shanghai on June 27, replaced its stops in Busan and Jeju with Okinawa, according to online travel agency Ctrip.

Quarantine procedures have been imposed across South Korea’s ports for ships coming from the Middle East and elsewhere.

Since May 2015, the Republic of Korea has been investigating the largest known outbreak of MERS outside the Arabian Peninsula.

According to Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare, 126 people have been diagnosed with MERS since the country’s first patient was reported on 20 May.

The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a notice saying that Americans should change their travel plans to the Republic of Korea or other countries because of MERS.

Honk Kong issued a similar recommendation urging the public “to pay special attention to safety during travel” and avoid “unnecessary travel to Korea, in particular those with chronic illnesses.”


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