Airbnb has shut down check-ins for Beijing because of the coronavirus, but still appears to have listings for Wuhan
Airbnb has suspended all check-ins for the Chinese capital Beijing until March due to the ongoing Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. The company confirmed in a statement it would refund customers whose reservations have been cancelled. Although Beijing listings have been blocked out until March, Business Insider was still able to find February listings in Wuhan, the city at the center of the outbreak. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Airbnb has suspended all check-ins for Beijing until March due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. "In light of the novel coronavirus outbreak and guidance from local authorities for the Short Term Rental industry during this public health emergency, bookings of all listings in Beijing with check-in from 7 February 2020 to 29 February 2020 have been suspended. Airbnb appreciates that disease control efforts are causing overall travel disruptions that also affect our community of guests and hosts. "We will refund and support guests who had cancelled reservations. And we will continue to work diligently to build programs that support our community of hosts," an Airbnb spokesman said in a statement to Business Insider. When Business Insider searched for Beijing listings in the Airbnb all of them were blocked out until March 1 although February listings for Wuhan, the city at the center of the outbreak, were still showing up. A Business Insider reporter was able to get to the payment stage for a Wuhan-based Airbnb.
Airbnb was not immediately available to comment when asked by Business Insider if any cities outside of Beijing were also having check-ins shut down. Searching any location in China brings up an information card about the outbreak inside the Airbnb app. As of Monday the death toll for the Wuhan coronavirus topped 900, the vast majority of which were in mainland China. 16 cities including Wuhan have been quarantined, placing a rough total of 50 million Chinese citizens on lockdown. Globally the virus has spread to 26 countries and over 24,000 cases have been confirmed. Airbnb is one of the few big Western tech companies that is allowed to operate in China, with behemoths likes Facebook, Google Search and Twitter all blocked by the country's so-called "Great Firewall."SEE ALSO: There's a good chance the Wuhan coronavirus will never disappear, experts say. There are only 3 possible endings to this story. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How autopilot on an airplane works
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Stranded passengers on Holland America 'mystery cruise' have no idea where they will end up after coronavirus outbreak forces ports to turn ships away
The MS Zaandam, a Holland America Line cruise ship with 842 passengers and 542 crew members...The MS Zaandam, a Holland America Line cruise ship with 842 passengers and 542 crew members on board, is currently sailing north after being shut out of South American ports over coronavirus concerns. The ship is not in quarantine, and there are no suspected COVID-19 cases onboard, a Holland America spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider in a statement. "We're now on a mystery cruise because we have no idea where we're going," one Zaandam passenger told Business Insider. Passengers were nearly told to embark in Punta Arenas, Chile, before the country's health officials blocked the disembarkation. The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the cruise ship industry into chaos, as even vessels with no reported outbreaks are denied access to ports. Are you a cruise ship passenger or employee with a story to share? Email email@example.com. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. A St. Patrick's Day celebration broke out in the piano lounge of the MS Zaandam, as the Holland America cruise ship drifted along on its uncertain course. The bar's French piano player broke out the handful of Irish tunes he knew offhand while guests clinked glasses of Guinness and shared worries about their loved ones enduring the coronavirus pandemic back at home. Chile had just blocked Zaandam passengers from disembarking, over concerns of a coronavirus outbreak. But there were still reasons to cheer. A mandatory ship-wide temperature-check failed to uncover any signs of fever — a tell-tale symptom of COVID-19. The cruise ship's future remains unclear, and passengers and crew members alike are not sure where or when they will be able to disembark. The situation on board the Zaandam latest instance of the havoc that the COVID-19 outbreak has wrought on the cruise ship industry. Six passengers died after getting caught up in the coronavirus outbreak onboard the Diamond Princess ship in February. A majority of the guests released from the Grand Princess declined to be tested for the disease after a lengthy quarantine. Like Princess Cruises, Holland America is a subsidiary of cruise industry giant Carnival Corporation. On March 17, the line suspended its global operations for 30 days, citing "port closures and travel restrictions." No Holland America passengers or crew members have tested positive for COVID-19. "From there the ship will head north, and Holland America Line is currently working on finalizing the details for the best place for guests to disembark as soon as possible and return home," the spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement. "We will share more information as it is known." "Zaandam is not in quarantine and there are no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 among the 842 guests and 542 crew on board," the spokesperson added. But the pandemic has even led to the un-mooring of outbreak-free cruise ships, where no indications of an outbreak have been detected so far. The story of passengers on board the Holland America ship give a glimpse into what it's like to be trapped on an aimless "mystery cruise" during an international pandemic. 'Such an abrupt end' Cruise ships are currently clogging Port Tampa Bay, according to the The Tampa Bay Times. CNN listed a fleet of stranded vessels, from lines like Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Costa Cruises. According to the Guardian, thousands of Australian citizens have been left stuck abroad after departing on cruise ships during the pandemic. The Zaandam is now anchored off of Valparaiso, Chile, where it is taking on fuel and provisions. A Holland America spokesperson told Business Insider that the ship will set sail again around noon on March 21. An American passenger on board the Zaandam spoke with Business Insider, but asked to go by his first name Chuck over privacy concerns. "We're now on a mystery cruise because we have no idea where we're going," he told Business Insider. "Prior to Holland America Line's announcement on March 13 suspending all global cruise operations for 30 days, Zaandam was sailing a 14-day South America voyage that departed Buenos Aires on March 7 and was scheduled to end in San Antonio on March 21," a Holland America spokesperson told Business Insider. The spokesperson added: "We sincerely thank our guests and their loved ones for their continued patience and understanding during this unprecedented situation. The health and safety of our guests and crew is one of our highest priorities." Sailing around Cape Horn and cutting through the Panama Canal were both on the itinerary for passengers, along with a number of day trips at ports throughout South America. After making stops in Montevideo, Uruguay and the Falkland Islands, the cruise was canceled on March 15. Passengers received a letter apologizing for the situation; "We are very sorry to inform you that our current sailing will now terminate in Punta Arenas, where we have arrived today." "We are sincerely sorry that your voyage has come to such an abrupt end," the letter read. "If you have cruised with Holland America Line before you know this is absolutely not how we endeavor to treat our guests or have their cruise experience go." The March 15 letter cited "challenges maintaining scheduled itinerary in light of rapidly changing restrictions limited to COVID-19" as the reason for the cancellation. The Zaandam crew would work with Chile in order to arrange a disembarkation on March 21, and would remain in the port to accommodate guests unable to catch an immediate flight. The American passenger who spoke with Business Insider said he was especially upset about the lack of assistance for guests who booked travel arrangements independent of Holland America. The March 15 letter advised that passengers who'd signed up for the line's Flight Ease program would have their "homeward flights rebooked to depart from Punta Arenas at our expense." 'That really put me off' But those with independent travel arrangements were simply advised to "work with your carrier" to book travel from Presidente Carlos Ibanez International Airport for no earlier than 1 p.m on March 16. All guests were offered complimentary transfers from the ship to the airport on a travel plan questionnaire posted in each room. The passenger said he was advised to file an insurance claim. Chuck said that, while he appreciated how "forthcoming" ship Captain Ane Jan Smit has been throughout the cruise, he was upset by Holland America's treatment of passengers who booked their flights independently. He said that attempting to fly back home from Chile would have cost his party around $8,000 "That really put me off," Chuck said. "I was anticipating they would say, 'Where's your final destination?' And they were going to take care of this. But instead it was, 'Figure your own way home and then file your claim with the insurance company." However, the Zaandam passengers were ultimately not allowed into Chile. A March 16 letter sent to guests announced that the country had "entered a higher phase of their coronavirus outbreak, and their officials have decided to close all borders by air, land, and sea, as well as their airspace, within the next 48 hours." The letter said that the Zaandam crew "had put pressure on the authorities to allow disembarkation within the next two days, however, they are not allowing us to do this without remaining outside the city for at least 14 days." On March 15, when there was still a possibility that passengers would disembark in Chile, all Zaandam passengers went through a health check. Guests were called into the ship's main theater by deck. Crew members had collected each passenger's passport when they first boarded in Buenos Aires, and individually called down guests who failed to "They just took our temperatures and everybody had to fill out a form," Chuck told Business Insider. So far, he said there have been no indications that anyone on board has had a fever. Now aboard a cruise with no end in sight, Chuck said that the mood on the ship is relatively calm. With the ship heading north, he expressed concerns for passengers not from the United States, like the citizens of Britain, Australia, Canada, and France he met onboard. "We don't know how they would get back home from the States," he said. 'It would work out for us. But, I'm not really sure what they're going to do." He said guests often seem to be more worried about family back home, since everyone on board appears to be "healthy." A Holland America spokesperson told Business Insider that "complimentary internet and phone service" have been provided to all guests, so they are not completely cut off from the outside world. And passengers find ways to amuse themselves at sea, like observing the cruise ship's latest delivery of booze. "On a lighter note, they are loading cases of Corona beer on board," Chuck wrote in a text to Business Insider. Read Holland America's full statement here: Zaandam will make a service call on March 20 in Valparaiso, Chile, for fuel and provisioning. The ship is planning to depart on March 21 about noon. From there the ship will head north, and Holland America Line is currently working on finalizing the details for the best place for guests to disembark as soon as possible and return home. We will share more information as it is known. Complimentary internet and phone service has been provided for all guests to communicate with their families. We sincerely thank our guests and their loved ones for their continued patience and understanding during this unprecedented situation. The health and safety of our guests and crew is one of our highest priorities. Zaandam is not in quarantine and there are no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 among the 842 guests and 542 crew on board. Prior to Holland America Line's announcement on March 13 suspending all global cruise operations for 30 days, Zaandam was sailing a 14-day South America voyage that departed Buenos Aires on March 7 and was scheduled to end in San Antonio on March 21. Are you a cruise ship passenger or employee with a story to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.SEE ALSO: Carnival Cruise Line is banning certain customers and issuing mandatory pre-boarding temperature checks after Princess' ships were hit by a massive coronavirus outbreak Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 'I'm not going to sit up here and pretend like it's a joke': 3 coronavirus patients share their stories from quarantine
When the coronavirus outbreak began in China, many other nations blocked Chinese travelers. Now China is...When the coronavirus outbreak began in China, many other nations blocked Chinese travelers. Now China is raising its guard against outside infections.
The coronavirus outbreak began nearly three months ago. But on Thursday, the magnitude of the pandemic...The coronavirus outbreak began nearly three months ago. But on Thursday, the magnitude of the pandemic hit home in America. The outbreak was officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on Wednesday. A slew of major cancellations in the US followed soon after, including sports seasons and movie premieres. In the US, there are nearly 1,700 confirmed cases, and 41 people have died from the disease. Grade schools are shuttering to keep students at home, and universities are extending spring breaks and hosting online classes. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The coronavirus was officially declared a pandemic on Wednesday. The next day, the magnitude of the situation hit home in America. The virus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19, has been found in more than 100 countries outside of the outbreak's epicenter in Wuhan, China. Since the outbreak began late last December, the number of coronavirus cases has surpassed 128,000, with a death toll of at least 4,720. In the US, there are nearly 1,700 confirmed cases, and at least 41 people have died from the disease. Though, two weeks ago, Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sounded the alarm saying, "It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness," before Wednesday night, and to a greater degree on Thursday, the US had a mixed response to the coronavirus outbreak. Americans appeared to respond by panic-buying supplies, but social distancing practices were not immediately put into effect. States only began to declare emergencies at the end of February, the White House continued to give mixed messages about the severity of the outbreak, and testing for COVID-19 has lagged behind other countries. There were signs that the country was moving in the direction of social distancing measures: This week SXSW was canceled, Coachella and Stagecoach were postponed. Tech companies began asking employees to work from home and a spooked stock market tumbled into bear territory; on Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial reached its lowest since 1987. But then the dam broke. On Wednesday night, two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson announced they had tested positive for the coronavirus, while they were in Australia for pre-production of the upcoming untitled Elvis Presley biopic. The Hanks' announcement hit at the same time as a televised address by President Donald Trump. In his speech, which necessitated several clarifications from the White House thereafter, President Donald Trump announced that travel from Europe except for the United Kingdom would be suspended for 30 days — adding to the nation's existent travel advisories to parts of Asia. He also announced potential economic measures as the US braces for the economic fallout of the disease, including asking Congress to provide payroll tax relief and waivers for small businesses. The dominoes continued to tumble. The coronavirus — which shut down much of China for a month and forced an unprecedented country-wide lockdown in Italy — was real. Though the president has not declared a national emergency, 25 states have declared emergencies, and companies have stepped in to implement social distancing measures — banning large gatherings and canceling events. US sports and entertainment have taken a hit. Wednesday evening, the NBA also announced it would suspend its 2019-2020 season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus, also prompting a quarantine on the teams he had played in the days prior to his diagnosis. On Thursday, the MLB, NHL, and NCAA followed suit, canceling all games and postseason tournaments like March Madness. NASCAR and Indycar will continue to hold races but with no fans in attendance. Aside from sports, the entertainment industry in the US has also borne the brunt of the disease. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned gatherings of more than 500 people, shuttering Broadway until mid-April. Disney postponed the premieres of upcoming movies, including the must-anticipated release of the live-action "Mulan." Major US amusement parks at Disneyland, Disney World, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Universal Orlando Resort announced that their doors would be closing to visitors until the end of the month. Grade schools are shuttering and universities are extending spring breaks and hosting online classes. Universities in the US — including Columbia, Harvard, and Ohio State — are moving students off-campus and shifting over to remote classes amid the outbreak. Local school districts have also been moving to cancel classes and keep students at home, including Houston Independent School District, which is the seventh-largest school district in the country. This is only a sampling of the ways the US has been responding to the coronavirus outbreak, and it exemplifies the sudden reactive approach the country is taking to the outbreak nearly three months since it began. In comparison, China imposed an unprecedented quarantine on tens of millions of people living in the country, including the 11 million people living in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. Italy, which has been the second hardest-hit country by the coronavirus, put the entire country on lockdown and shut down all stores except for groceries and pharmacies. While the coronavirus has not yet impacted the US on the same level as it has others, these measures will likely help prevent the spread of the disease as the US continues to grapple with the stark reality of the coronavirus outbreak on American soil. Read more: 21 states have declared states of emergency to fight coronavirus — here's what it means for them The sports world is coming to a grinding halt because of coronavirus, and now the NBA, MLB, NHL, and NCAA are canceling their seasons. Here's the full list. Columbia, Harvard, Ohio State, and other major US colleges and universities that have switched to remote classes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus Parents are struggling to cope as coronavirus worries shut down schools, leaving kids scared and confused SEE ALSO: Here are the major events that have been cancelled or postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus so far Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's what happens to your brain when you get a concussion