The Hill | Tulsi Gabbard urges Trump to stop cruise ships from docking in any state
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is urging President Trump to stop cruise ships from docking in any state as the coronavirus outbreak shakes the country.
Gabbard in a Twitter video on Thursday said she agreed with “much of what” President Trump has proposed to contain the virus, but added that other steps need to be taken, like forbidding cruise ships from docking in Hawaii or any other states.
“These cruise ships are basically floating incubators for this disease,” Gabbard said.
One of three Democratic presidential candidates left in the race, Gabbard also said Trump should address “the lack of availability of tests” for the virus and ensure people don’t need to pay to get tested.
“These are the things needed right now,” she said. “Tests need to be available. People who are taking these tests need to know they’re not going to have to pay for them.”
She also said she hoped the coronavirus outbreak “does not become politicized.”
“We are all in this together,” she said.
Gabbard in a letter to the president asked him to "temporarily suspend operations of all cruise lines nationwide" and ensure all people "can be tested and cleared before boarding or disembarking cruise ships."
"We cannot afford to let cruise passengers risk infections in our country, causing mass exposures in our communities or risking another cruise ship being quarantined at sea," she wrote.
Trump announced Wednesday night that all travel from Europe would be prohibited as an attempt to contain the spreading virus. He also offered several recommendations on how to improve the economy and help small and midsize businesses amid the outbreak.
Several cruise ships that have held U.S. citizens had been quarantined and prevented from docking, notably the Diamond Princess, which was off the coast of Japan for two weeks. At least seven former passengers have died and about 700 were infected on the ship.
At least 21 people on the Grand Princess, which was off the coast of California, contracted the virus, leading to delays in the ship’s evacuation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and State Department announced Monday that Americans should not board cruise ships during the outbreak. Viking and Princess cruise lines announced on Thursday that they are suspending their trips.
The coronavirus has infected more than 1,300 people in the U.S. and killed at least 38, with eight recorded recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins University.