Amid coronavirus concerns, officials monitoring Mississippi River travel
BATON ROUGE - Cruise line and coast guard officials are keeping an eye on international travel at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge along the Mississippi River.
Riverboat cruise ships frequently make stops along the river in the capital city. The vessels bring thousands of people from as close as Texas, and as far away as Canada.
Because of its wide-range of passengers and where they travel, American Cruise Lines, who operates the ship that was docked in Baton Rouge on Monday, said that it's implemented coronavirus prevention measures.
Those measures from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) are as follows:
--- CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who have traveled from, visited or transited via airports in Iran, South Korea and China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 14 days before embarkation.
--- CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who, within 14 days before embarkation, have had close contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having COVID-19, or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to COVID-19.
--- CLIA Members are to conduct preboarding screening necessary to effectuate these prevention measures. Enhanced screening and initial medical support are to be provided, as needed, to any persons exhibiting symptoms of suspected COVID-19.
John Calderone, who's traveling with his wife, said he's noticed the crew's extra attention to keeping things sanitary.
"The dining rooms are always cleaned before and after. They use Lysol, bleach, whatever. I mean everything from handrails to inside your house, the whole bit,” Calderone said.
Governor John Bel Edwards said that the coronavirus will inevitably pop up in Louisiana no matter how much disinfectant is used. The state already monitoring dozens of people.
“We do believe it's a matter of when, and not if, that this will happen,” Edwards said.
"Somewhere around 40 or so overall people that traveled into the state who came from places that caused the federal government to let us know that they were here. All of whom have cooperated with us fully and isolating themselves at home until they get past the 14-day window,” Edwards said.
But all the attention and preparations revolving around the coronavirus is not stopping the Calderone couple from their travels.
"Great staff, great company, we've had a great time," Calderone said.
The Port of Greater Baton Rouge said that it is working with the Coast Guard to monitor riverboats and crew members as usual.