The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on April 9 extended its no-sail order for all cruise ships for 100 days or until the COVID-19 pandemic is deemed over.
“We are working with the cruise line industry to address the health and safety of crew at sea as well as communities surrounding U.S. cruise ship points of entry,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield.
The order will remain in place until one of three situations occurs: The Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declares the COVID-19 public health emergency is over; the CDC director rescinds or modifies the order; or 100 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.
Cruise lines halted operations voluntarily on March 14 and many companies have extended their suspensions.
In announcing the no-sail order, the CDC said in a statement that “cruise ship travel markedly increases the risk and impact of the COVID-19 outbreak within the United States.”
In recent weeks, at least 10 cruise ships reported crew or passengers that tested positive or experienced respiratory symptoms or influenza-like illness. Currently, the CDC said, there are approximately 100 cruise ships remaining at sea off the east, west and Gulf coasts, with nearly 80,000 crew onboard. Additionally, the CDC said 20 cruise ships at port or anchorage in the U.S. have known or suspected COVID-19 infection among the crew who remain on board.
The CDC, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Department of Homeland Security have been working with the cruise industry on a framework to combat COVID-19 on ships with international crew members who remain on board and at sea.
The order requires that cruise lines develop a detailed operational plan approved by CDC and the U.S. Coast Guard to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including a response plan with limited reliance on state, local, and federal government support.
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