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    CDC Orders Cruise Ships to Suspend Operations for 100 More Days


    On April 9, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an extension of its "No Sail Order" for cruise ships in response to the coronavirus outbreak. It was originally placed on March 14 and set to last 30 days, and the U.S. cruise industry, which has worked closely with the CDC throughout the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteered to suspend operations in conjunction with the announcement.

    The new order remains in place until one of three scenarios occurs: the Secretary of Health and Human Services no longer declares COVID-19 a public health emergency; the CDC director modifies or rescinds the order based on public health or other considerations; or 100 more days pass, the CDC said in a statement.

    “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 in the statement. He added that the extension is a means to increase efforts to combat the effects and impact of coronavirus, and takes into account just how much the pandemic has impacted passengers and crew.

    Even though the majority of cruise ships are not sailing right now, nearly 80,000 crew members remain on some 100 cruise ships off the East Coast, West Coast, and Gulf Coast, the CDC said. At least 10 ships reported in recent weeks they had crew or passengers that tested positive or experienced symptoms; and at least 20 cruise ships at port or anchored in the U.S. have known or suspected cases among crew.
    That kind of COVID-19 presence presents public health concerns surrounding the safe evacuation, triaging, and repatriating of those crew members, not to mention its impact on local communities and healthcare workers. The CDC added that it poses a financial strain on government resources, and affects the seaworthiness of the ships themselves.

    “The measures we are taking today to stop the spread of COVID-19 are necessary to protect Americans, and we will continue to provide critical public health guidance to the industry to limit the impact of COVID-19 on its workforce throughout the remainder of this pandemic,” Redfield said.

    The CDC, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Department of Homeland Security are working with the industry to determine the most appropriate public health strategy to limit the impact of COVID-19 at cruise ship ports in the U.S. The cruise industry will now create a comprehensive, detailed plan approved by the CDC and the Coast Guard "with limited reliance on state, local, and federal government support"—one that accounts for medical screenings of passengers and crew, training crew on COVID-19 prevention, and managing and responding to an outbreak.

    For the time being, cruise ship operators cannot disembark travelers in port or embark crew without Coast Guard approval. They must also observe health precautions with HHS and CDC oversight.

    The Cruise Lines International Association has not yet released a statement about this extension of the order, but has openly partnered with state and federal agencies in managing the spread of the virus since its onset. The cruise industry contributes some $53 billion to the U.S. economy each year, and represents more than 421,000 American jobs, CLIA says. Though President Donald Trump has applauded the industry's efforts in working with officials to address the pandemic, the industry is not eligible for the economic stimulus package the federal government signed into law last month.

    Visit the CDC's site for all of its guidance surrounding coronavirus and cruise ships.

    by CORINA QUINN, Conde Nast Traveler
    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
    For more cruise news and articles go to https://www.cruisecrazies.com

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