Cruises in US waters were halted until at least November, CDC says


Cruise ships will be banned from sailing in US waters for at least a month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday, extending their “no sail” order until October.

It’s a much shorter extension than what the CDC originally offered to the White House Coronavirus Task Force, namely that cruise ships are not expected to sail until at least February.

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But the February extension was canceled after a meeting between the CDC and members of the task force, according to officials familiar with the situation.

“Recent epidemics on cruise ships overseas provide current evidence that cruise ship travel continues to transmit and amplify the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” the CDC said in a press release, “Even when the ships are sailing. to reduced passenger capacities – and would likely spread the infection in American communities if passenger operations were to resume prematurely in the United States.

At least 3,689 confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19 on cruise ships in the United States have been reported to the CDC since March 1, the agency said. At least 41 people have died.

The revised order reflects actions taken by a trade organization representing the cruise industry, the Cruise Lines International Association, which announced over the summer that its members would suspend U.S. operations until at least October 31.

The announcement “demonstrates the cruise industry’s commitment to public health and its willingness to voluntarily suspend operations in the interest of public health and safety,” the group wrote in a statement. 5 August.

The cruise ship industry is trying to slowly resume travel and is basing its next steps largely on recommendations offered by the Healthy Sail Panel, a partnership between Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean Group, two of the largest cruise lines. , to “guide the cruise industry’s way forward in response to COVID-19.” ”

A former head of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr Scott Gottlieb, and a former head of the Department of Health and Human Services, Michael Leavitt, are co-chairs of the Healthy Sail Panel.

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In March, two large and deadly Covid-19 outbreaks occurred on cruise ships, the Diamond Princess in Japan and the Grand Princess in California.

More than 800 passengers and crew on these ships have tested positive for the coronavirus. At least 16 people have died.

These are not the only Covid-19 outbreaks on cruise ships. Indeed, outbreaks continue to be reported on cruise ships in other parts of the world. Last month, three dozen crew members on board the Norwegian cruise ship, MS Roald Amundsen, tested positive for Covid-19, forcing the company that runs the cruise line to suspend operations.

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