The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extended its ‘No Sail Order’ for cruise ships through 30th September, 2020.
This order continues to suspension of passenger operations on cruise ships with a capacity of over 250 pax in waters subject to US jurisdiction, CDC said in a statement.
The organisation said that it supported the decision by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) to extend the voluntarily the suspension of passenger cruise ship travel by its members until 15th September.
In line with CLIA’s announcement, CDC has extended its ‘No Sail Order’ to ensure that passenger operations on cruise ships do not resume prematurely, it explained.
Cumulative CDC data from 1st March through 10th July, 2020, showed 2,973 COVID-19 or COVID-like illness cases on cruise ships, in addition to 34 deaths. These cases were part of 99 outbreaks on 123 different cruise ships.
During this time frame, 80% of ships were affected by COVID-19. As of 3rd July, nine of the 49 ships under the ‘No Sail Order’ have ongoing or resolving outbreaks. According to US Coast Guard data, as of 10th July, 2020, there were 67 ships with 14,702 crew on board.
This order will remain in effect until the earliest of:
- The expiration of the US Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency,
- The CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations, or
- 30th September, 2020.
The centre said that on cruise ships, passengers and crew share spaces that are more crowded than most urban settings. Even when only essential crew are on board, ongoing spread of COVID-19 still occurs.
If unrestricted cruise ship passenger operations were permitted to resume, passengers and crew on board would be at increased risk of COVID-19 infection and those that work or travel on cruise ships would place substantial unnecessary risk on healthcare workers, port personnel and federal partners (ie. Customs and Border Protection and the US Coast Guard), and the communities they return to.
CDC said that it will continue to update its guidance and recommendations to specify basic safety standards and public health interventions based on the best scientific evidence available.