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Scenic Group Donates AU$500,000 to Australia’s Firefighting and Relief Efforts

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The Scenic Group announced today that it will donate AU$500,000 (US$345,000) to provide bushfire support and relief efforts in Australia.

“We are deeply saddened by the devastating bushfires in many parts of Australia, and the significant impact it is having on individuals, local communities and our native wildlife,” said Glen Moroney, owner of Scenic Group.

The donation will be allocated to several charities and state organizations, including the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Appeal, the Salvation Army Emergency Services, state Country/Rural Fire Services and WIRES.

As an Australian-founded company, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours has grown over its 33-year history to include all-inclusive river and ocean cruises and land tours. Since 2008, Scenic has offered river cruises in Europe, Southeast Asia, Russia and Egypt on its 15 Space-Ships. In 2019, Scenic introduced its first luxury expedition yacht, the 228-guest Scenic Eclipse. Sister brand Emerald Waterways has eight Star-Ships offering European river sailings and, new in 2019, Southeast Asia’s Mekong River.

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Cruise Ship Denied by Two Caribbean Ports Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

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An MSC Cruises ship was turned away from at least two ports in the Caribbean on Tuesday after a crew member fell ill amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

According to The New York Times, MSC Meraviglia was denied from docking in both Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Georgetown, Cayman Islands after port authorities learned that a crew member from the Philippines was ill. However, the Associated Press reported that the employee was believed to be sick with the common seasonal flu.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

“In an abundance of caution, in order to provide protection to the health and safety of the residents of the Cayman Islands, the government has denied permission for the cruise ship to call on Grand Cayman as previously scheduled,” Dwayne Seymour, health minister of the Cayman Islands, said in a statement.

The cruise line expressed frustration over the repeated denial, claiming that the ill crew member and all passengers on the ship had passed a health screening prior to embarking.

“The crew member had traveled to Miami from Manila, via direct connection in Istanbul,” MSC Cruises said in a statement to the Times. “He developed symptoms of common flu and tested positive to Type A influenza after he visited the ship’s 24/7 Medical Center while already on board. He has no other symptoms.”

The ship, which is carrying more than 4,500 passengers and 1,600 crew members, is in the midst of a 15-day roundtrip sailing from Miami that had included scheduled stops in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Mexico, Bahamas, Belize and Honduras.

MSC Meraviglia isn’t the first ship to be turned away from port amid fears of the spreading coronavirus and likely won’t be the last. Tuesday’s unexpected hiccup comes just one week after MSC Cruises updated MSC Bellissima’s Grand Voyage itinerary to Asia.

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