Published: 10:36, 13 March 2020
| Updated: 11:30, 13 March 2020
A Kent travel operator has suspended all cruises in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.
Folkestone-based Saga announced the "difficult decision" today after more than 500 cases have been confirmed in the UK.
Yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the government was moving into the 'Delay' phase in its efforts to contain the virus.
This includes advising anyone with mild fever symptoms to stay home for seven days and elderly people with pre-existing conditions against going on cruises.
Now, Saga, which provides travel for over-50s, says all cruise operations from March 15 to May 1 have been temporarily suspended.
A statement reads: "On Thursday the government announced changes to cruise travel advice for those over 70 and those with an underlying medical condition.
"For 20 years, we have taken guests on Saga cruises with many leaving us feeling like family.
"Throughout this time, the health and wellbeing of our guests and our crew has always been our absolute priority.
"Given the government advice, we have taken the very difficult decision to temporarily suspend our Ocean Cruises onboard Saga Sapphire and Spirit of Discovery from 15 March 2020 to 1 May 2020.
"This is a decision we have not taken lightly.
"However, with the current circumstances, we no longer believe that we can give you the cruise experience you would expect from Saga."
People who have booked cruises between this time will be able to transfer their booking to another time, and will receive 25% credit.
The announcement from Saga - one of Kent's biggest employees - comes just a day after a member of their staff tested positive for the virus.
There are now 11 cases of coronavirus confirmed in Kent, while nationwide the number of confirmed cases rose from 456 to 590 yesterday.
Eight people have so far died from the disease.
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More by this authorSam Williams