There’s bad news ahead for anybody who has an offshore vacation booked. Canada’s leading public health official has advised that Canadians should avoid taking nautical trips, as the risk of novel coronavirus on cruise ships is heightened. This comes as the government prepares to repatriate passengers from yet another ship that has been affected by the virus.

Speaking on Monday afternoon, one of Canada’s top public health doctors recommended against travelling on cruise ships.

While she had previously urged Canadians to “think twice” about vacations on the water, Dr. Theresa Tam is now suggesting avoiding cruises all together, to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

“Today, the Public Health Agency of Canada is recommending that Canadians avoid all cruise ship travel due to COVID-19,” she confirmed.

Tam explained that vessels may voyage to regions with unconfirmed or undiagnosed cases of the coronavirus, and therefore it would become increasingly difficult to adequately protect yourself against the illness.

Additionally, Tam noted that confined spaces are the perfect place for germs to proliferate.

“The virus can spread quickly on cruise ships due to the close contact between passengers,” she said.

This comes as the Canadian Government prepares to rescue 237 locals that are stuck aboard a Princess Cruises ship. The vessel has been affected by a number of cases of COVID-19.

In the last two months, the Canadian Government has had to repatriate passengers from two different cruise ships, from the U.S. and from Japan.

After both ships were affected by the novel coronavirus, officials were forced to step-in and rescue Canadians that had been stranded off-shore.

According to Global News, there have been hundreds of cases of COVID-19 reported on cruises since the outbreak began, including dozens of cases on the Diamond Princess and the Grand Princess.

During the same press conference on Monday, officials were asked why it has taken so long for the government to make this statement.

“As you know, the global situation changed quite rapidly even from the time of the Diamond Princess cruise ship to now,” Dr. Tam explained.

“I think it’s really a constant learning from the very rapidly evolving situation and I think this is a precautionary measure that we absolutely support from a public health perspective,” she added.

At least there's some good news for the passengers currently on board the Grand Princess.

Princess Cruises has confirmed to Narcity that they’ll all receive a full refund.

“In consideration of the extraordinary circumstances onboard Grand Princess, Princess Cruises will refund the full cruise fare for all guests including air travel, hotel, ground transportation, pre-paid shore excursions, gratuities and other items (exclusion jewelry and fine art).”

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