IMPORTANT ALERT: VOYAGES OF DISCOVERY'S MEDICAL SCREENING POLICY UPDATE

In light of the news and events surrounding the Ebola issues and our commitment to the safety of our passengers and crew, Voyages of Discovery has amended its medical embarkation screening process in accordance with the Cruise Line International Association’s (CLIA) latest recommendations. Any embarking passengers, crew, visitors and their travelling party who answer "yes" to the screening questions below will be denied/prohibited from boarding our ships.

Have you been or travelled through Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea in the last 30 days? Within the past 30 days did you, or any person in your party, have physical contact with, or help care for (including lab work), someone diagnosed with or suspected to have Ebola?

Voyages of Discovery, CLIA and other cruise line members are monitoring the situation very closely, along with our colleagues in the rest of the travel industry. CLIA is also on the UN Travel and Transport Task Force on Ebola, who is continuously conveying guidance from public health agencies to all cruise line members.

These efforts and robust medical protocols demonstrate how Voyages of Discovery and the cruise industry is taking this matter very seriously and remains focused on the health of passengers and crew. If you are a Voyages of Discovery passenger and have any questions or concerns regarding your travel plans, please contact us on 0800 987 5189.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. How is Voyages of Discovery responding to the Ebola situation?

A. Voyages of Discovery is denying any passengers, crew or visitors who have recently travelled through the CDC-designated countries to board our ships.

Voyages of Discovery is monitoring the situation very closely, along with our colleagues in the rest of the travel industry, and we remain in contact with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as international health organizations for updates and important information. Voyages of Discovery is also a member of CLIA who is on the UN Travel and Transport Task Force on Ebola and who is continuously conveying guidance from public health agencies to all cruise line members.

Q. Has Voyages of Discovery developed protocols to address Ebola?

A. Yes. Voyages of Discovery is currently denying boarding for all passengers, crew and visitors arriving from countries designated with widespread transmission of Ebola (Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea) by CDC. Additional recommended measures include denial of boarding to passengers and crew who travelled to, in or through those countries within a minimum of 30 days before embarkation. Further, we have added “contact screening” (in addition to travel screening) and denial of boarding for anyone who had physical contact with, or helped care for, a person with Ebola during the same time frame.

Q. Does Voyages of Discovery screen embarking passengers for symptoms of Ebola?

A. Voyages of Discovery continues to observe and question embarking passengers about recent or current illnesses and symptoms, as they have done for many years. Additionally, Voyages of Discovery is enforcing a policy that passengers, crew and visitors recently travelling to, in or through the affected countries be prohibited altogether from boarding our cruise ships.

Q. What would happen if an embarking cruise passenger shows symptoms of possible Ebola?

A. As has been the case for many years, passengers, crew or visitors exhibiting signs of any illness prior to boarding a ship is checked by health and medical staff who determine if the individual will be allowed to board or declined, quarantined and/or referred to landside medical care.

Q. What is the cruise industry doing to prevent an Ebola-infected individual from exposing cruise ship passengers and crew to the virus?

A. Voyages of Discovery has instituted a total ban against passengers, crew and visitors recently traveling to, in or through the CDC-designated countries from boarding any of our cruise ships. We continue to observe and question embarking passengers, crew and visitors about recent or current illnesses and symptoms, as we have done for many years. As a CLIA Member, we are also following the Ebola guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other public health authorities, such as CDC (Centre for Disease Control & Prevention).

These efforts and robust medical protocols demonstrate how the cruise industry is taking this matter very seriously and remains focused on the health of passengers, crew and visitors. This means that the risk of a cruise ship passenger encountering an individual from the region where Ebola is originating is extremely low.

The World Health Organization says that Ebola is not contagious during its incubation period. Even when an infected individual begins exhibiting symptoms, Ebola is only transmitted through contact with that person’s body fluids. As a result, the view of public health authorities is that the risk of infection for the average traveller is low. In any case, Voyages of Discovery has developed a protocol to prepare their ships with the appropriate guidance and procedures from the world’s leading health authorities to deal with this unlikely situation. Moreover, Voyages of Discovery is taking steps to help ensure that persons from the declared outbreak countries, or recently travelling in, to or through these countries, or those who’ve had recent contact with or helped care for an Ebola patient, are prohibited from boarding our ships altogether.

Q. What is Voyages of Discovery prepared to do if a passenger, crew member or visitor displays symptoms of Ebola?

A. In the unlikely event that a passenger, crewmember or visitor shows symptoms and is at risk of Ebola, they are to be immediately isolated and managed by ship medical personnel, who have been provided necessary personal protection equipment (PPE) and training in isolation protocols. At the earliest and appropriate time the passenger, crew member or visitor are to be disembarked at the closest, capable medical facility where they can receive treatment.

Q. What kind of measures should a sick person expect if Ebola is suspected as a possible cause of their symptoms?

A. The guidance from WHO, means that a suspected infected person should expect that the ship’s trained medical staff will attend to them and place them in isolation onboard under close professional supervision until they can be safely transferred to a hospital ashore. Personal protective equipment will be worn by any shipboard staff that might come in contact with them. Shore-side public health authorities will be contacted immediately to assist in managing the further diagnosis and medical care for a person suspected of having Ebola, and to help prevent any further spread of the illness.

Q. How long will this new medical screening policy be in place?

A. Until further notice.

For additional information and updates on the Ebola virus, visit the World Health Organisation at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/

To read various Government’s advice:

UK - https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/ebola-virus-government-response

USA - http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices

Australia - http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/travelbulletins/Ebola

Canada - http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices

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