Royal Caribbean halts hiring in India as Covid cases surge there

The Mariner of the Seas cruise ship, operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and host to the Coinsbank Blockchain Cruise Asia, sits off Paradise Beach in Phuket, Thailand, on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. When 600 cryptocurrency enthusiasts set sail from Singapore on Monday night for their second annual Blockchain Cruise, the price of Bitcoin was hovering comfortably above $13,500. By the time their 1,021-foot-long ship pulled into Thailand on Wednesday, for an afternoon of bottomless drinks and crypto-focused talks on a sun-soaked private beach, Bitcoin had cratered to $10,000.

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Royal Caribbean Cruises is temporarily suspending all assignments for its staff from India and will halt hiring in the country, amid a surge of Covid-19 cases there, according to a report by Crew Center.

India reported a record number of coronavirus cases for the fifth consecutive day on Monday, with over 350,000 new infections over a 24-hour period and 17 million total infections in the country.

“It’s always unfortunate when we must cancel assignments but we believe this is a prudent decision at this time,” the news outlet reported, citing a letter sent by Royal Caribbean International that it had obtained. “It’s not the way that we want to operate, but it is the reality of the quick changes we need to make based on different reasons that are often unplanned and beyond our direct control.”

According to Crew Center’s report, around 300 Indian crew members were supposed to work on the company’s Anthem of the Seas ship, starting on May 3. A person familiar with the matter told the news outlet that accommodations will be provided to crew under quarantine guidelines. Some of the workers were already in St. Marten, the report said.

A Royal Carribbean spokesperson told CNBC in an email: “We continue to monitor impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world including travel restrictions to and from areas with a high rate of cases. To ensure the continued health and safety of our crew, guests and the residents of the destination we visit, we are currently exercising extra caution in the movement of any crew from India to our ships due to the recent surge of COVID-19.”

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