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Monday, March 9, 2020

VP Mike Pence, visiting Florida to say cruise travel is safe, may have been exposed to coronavirus

Posted By on Mon, Mar 9, 2020 at 1:08 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA GAGE SKIDMORE/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Photo via Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons
Vice President Mike Pence's meeting with cruise ship industry leaders in Florida echoed commonly reserved coronavirus warnings from the Trump administration: Take precautions while on a cruise and everything will be fine.

"It is safe for healthy Americans to travel," he said Saturday in the meeting, which was also attended by Gov. Ron DeSantis and other state and local officials at Port Everglades. Save for the elderly and those who already have underlying health conditions, said Pence, the coronavirus should not prohibit people from taking a trip or a cruise.



A few federal agencies, though, expressed great concern about cruise travel. The State Department said on Sunday that being on a cruise ship increases the risk for contracting coronavirus and being subjected to quarantines, and advised that Americans avoid cruise ship travel. The CDC issued a similar warning about cruise ships and long plane rides, especially for the elderly and those with health issues. Resisting officials urging the president to say so himself, Donald Trump has reportedly opted against publicly warning the elderly against such travel, citing the potential harm it could cause both industries.
click to enlarge PHOTO VIA MIKE PENCE/TWITTER
  • Photo via Mike Pence/Twitter
Pence said he asked cruise lines to "step up their efforts to protect" those on board, both passengers and crew, and the port communities in which those on board depart and return.

Cruise lines and the CDC teamed up over the weekend to screen more passengers for coronavirus before they board ships, test people onboard, and devise a protocol to swiftly return those who have contracted the virus to land.

While on his Florida visit, Pence could have been exposed to the virus himself. He met with students from Sarasota Military Academy. Now, reports the Tampa Bay Times, a student from the school is under self-quarantine because they may have been in contact with the virus.

The student wasn't at the meeting with the vice president, but Pence's office reached out to the school to see if there was any way of charting potential exposure back to his visit with 44 students from the Sarasota school. School officials say they can't disclose if the student shared any classes with any of the students who visited with Pence.

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