New protocols for cruise lines could be deployed as early as this week to improve coronavirus testing and plans for evacuating sick passengers and crew.

Vice President of the United States of America, Mike Pence announced over the weekend that industry leaders in Port Everglades, Florida, calling for “significant” changes and telling the cruise industry to “step up”.

The industry is currently working with the Centres for Disease Control and Department of Homeland Security to set protocols for screening passengers, shipboard testing and quarantines and moving sick people to land.

“This will be an industry-led effort,” Mr Pence told reporters.

“We anticipate early next week that the cruise line industry and our administration will be able to announce significant progress in ensuring that we’re doing all we can to protect the health and well-being of the passengers of our cruise lines, the crews, and just as importantly the communities to which they return.”

Mr Pence has also suggested the American public to avoid activities like travelling on a cruise line, which would unnecessarily expose them to the virus.

“We’re looking to the cruise line industry for action and for guidance and for flexibilty with their passengers who fall into that category,” Mr Pence said.

“We’re going to be looking for leadership from the cruise line industry”

A spokesperson from Celebrity Cruises in Australia said: “We thank the Vice President for a productive meeting marked by our shared focus on public health. We have committed to do even more to protect our guests, our crew and the communities where we sail. This includes more stringent boarding procedures, adding additional onboard medical resources and temperature screenings at embarkation.

“We will also develop industry funded protocols to care for guests on land in the event of an incident to eliminate future incidents of onboard quarantine. We are pleased to know the government agencies are prepared to work with us in developing these aggressive new measures. We expect to report back this week with further details of this enhanced approach to protecting public health.”

Adam Goldstein, who stepped down as vice chairman of Royal Caribbean last week said work is already underway. Mr Goldstein is also the head of the Cruise Lines International Association.

“I want to state in very simple terms the determination of the industry to follow through on the commitments discussed in the meeting.

“We are hard at work already, even since the meeting ended. We look forward to an integrated and fruitful dialogue.”