Royal Caribbean Cruises temporarily suspended all assignments for its staff from India. The Royal Caribbean also temporarily stopped hiring Indian crew as COVID19 cases rise in India.
India reported five consecutive days on Monday of more than 350,000 new infections. The country has 17 million total infections since the pandemic started. World Head Organization chief Tedros Adhanom calls it “beyond heartbreaking“. He also said that the organization is rushing to assist India in its current situation.
According to the WHO’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, these aren’t the real number of new cases. With a positivity rate of 15% and in some cities higher, “that means there are lots of people out there who are infected and not being detected just because of the capacity of testing”.
Exercising Extra Caution
Royal Caribbean said that “It’s always unfortunate when we must cancel assignments but we believe this is a prudent decision at this time”. It also added that “It’s not the way that we want to operate, but it is the reality of the quick changes we need to make based on different reasons that are unplanned and beyond our direct control”.
300 Indian crew members were supposedly scheduled to work for the Anthem of the Seas ship on May 3. According to Royal Caribbean’s spokesperson in an email to CNBC, “we continue to monitor impacts of the COVID19 pandemic around the world including travel restrictions to and from areas with a high rate of cases”. The spokesperson also added that “we are currently exercising extra caution in the movement of any crew from India to our ships due to the recent surge of COVID19”.
Though more people in the US are now traveling, the cruise industry still hasn’t resumed. Last year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a no-sailing order. By October 2020, the agency released a conditional sailing order. But now, cruises are now leaving US homeports. States Florida and Alaska are suing the federal government for not allowing the industry to operate. According to them, the industry should be treated fairly. Plus, both states are losing a lot from not allowing the cruise industry to operate.