Cruise passengers to face 'rigorous' medical checks before boarding

Passengers travelling with P&O Cruises will be forced to pass "rigorous" medical checks before being allowed to board ships once sailings resume, the company said.

The UK's biggest cruise line told the PA news agency it is developing plans to introduce a series of "stringent measures" to ensure it obeys international health guidelines when it restarts operations once the coronavirus pandemic recedes.

Other changes being considered include reducing the capacity of ships, scrapping self-service buffets and implementing one-way systems on board.

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Earlier this month, easyJet announced it expects to keep middle seats empty on its planes when it restarts flights to enable social distancing.

Cruise passengers will be forced to undergo medical checks before boarding ships

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said the cruise line is working with authorities such as Public Health England to ensure sailings adhere to guidance "without compromising enjoyment and experience".

He continued: "These new stringent measures which may, no doubt, encompass rigorous pre-embarkation screening, changes to the onboard experience for guests and also working with our shore experience operators and ports of call, will be in place as soon as we reintroduce our ships.

"We will then get used to them in the same way as we got used to airline hand luggage restrictions.

"They will become the new normal and they will give us reassurance and peace of mind."

P&O Cruises confirmed last week that its sailings are suspended until at least the end of July.

All cruise ships operated by major companies have stopped commercial trips.

In recent weeks many were forced to cut their itineraries short and some were left in limbo when ports refused to let them dock over fears of increasing the spread of coronavirus.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said more than 19,000 British holidaymakers travelling on 59 liners around the world affected by the pandemic have been repatriated.

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