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CDC lifts no-sail order for cruise ships and issues new guidelines

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 10/30/2020 Reuters and Mary Kekatos For Dailymail.com
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has lifted the US ban on cruises and is issuing new guidance to help companies resume operations over the next several months.

The federal agency said it is letting its no-sail order, which has been in place since mid-March, expire on Saturday and be replaced with a new conditional sail order.

It does not mean the CDC will allow cruises in the US to resume next week as the country faces a third wave of infections.

However, it is framework that will allow the cruise industry to restart operations in phases along with an implementation of safety measures.   

a group of people riding on the back of a truck: The CDC sad it is letting it's no-sail order, which has been in place since mid-March, expire on Saturday. Pictured: The Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined in Japan from February 5 to February 19 and had a COVID-19 outbreak with nearly 700 cases and 7 deaths © Provided by Daily Mail The CDC sad it is letting it's no-sail order, which has been in place since mid-March, expire on Saturday. Pictured: The Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined in Japan from February 5 to February 19 and had a COVID-19 outbreak with nearly 700 cases and 7 deaths a group of people in a room: In its place is a less restrictive conditional sail order with guidelines for how to safely start voyages again including testing passengers and crew onboard. Pictured: Passengers are seen on their balconies of the cruise ship Coral Princess after it docked at Port Miami, April 4 © Provided by Daily Mail In its place is a less restrictive conditional sail order with guidelines for how to safely start voyages again including testing passengers and crew onboard. Pictured: Passengers are seen on their balconies of the cruise ship Coral Princess after it docked at Port Miami, April 4

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, few industries have been hit hard harder than the cruise industry. 

The ships are viewed as floating petri dishes and the source of major coronavirus outbreaks in the early days of the pandemic.

Perhaps the most famous case is that of the  Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined in Japan from February 5 to February 19.

One sick passenger eventually led to nearly 700 infections and seven deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

In a September 30 order, the CDC wrote in an order 'cruise ships continue to be an unsafe environment with close quarters where the disease spreads easily and is not readily detected.' 

But health officials say the new guidance will help mitigate outbreaks onboard and in  port cities where ships dock. 


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'The initial phases will consist of testing and additional safe guards for crew members,' the CDC wrote in its order.

'CDC will ensure cruise ship operators have adequate health and safety protections for crew members while these cruise ship operators build the laboratory capacity needed to test future passengers.' 

'Subsequent phases will include simulated voyages to test cruise ship operators' ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk, certification for ships that meet specific requirements and a phased return to cruise ship passenger operations.' 

To resume operations, operators must run through a simulated voyage where they practice safe check-ins and disembarking, on-board activities and what to do if a passengers tests positive.

Upon the news of the order lifting, shares of the largest cruise companies in the world rose.

Shares of Carnival rose by seven precent, shares of Norwegian Cruise Line increased by six percent and shared of Royal Caribbean rose by five percent.  

Michelle Fee, CEO and founder of Cruise Planners, a travel-agency franchise said she was happy to hear the news.   

'We applaud the travel industry for their efforts to minimize and prevent the introduction, transmission, and spread of COVID19 by devising and adapting to changing circumstances while prioritizing traveler's safety,' she said in a statement.

'This has been working well across all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and in Mexico and cruises sailing in Europe.'

'We are confident in the cruise line's abilities to implement the health and safety protocols. It will be a happy day when cruisers can return to the seas and travel advisors can help their clients plan their cruise vacations.'

chart, histogram © Provided by Daily Mail chart, histogram © Provided by Daily Mail

Data from the CDC shows that from March 1 through September 28, there have been 3,689 US confirmed cases of COVID-19 or COVID-like illness cases on cruise ships and 41 deaths.

Last month, the agency's director Dr Robert Redfield pushed to extend the no sail order until February 2021, reported Axios.

However, he was allegedly overruled by Vice President Mike Pence who deemed it unreasonable and said the order would expire on Halloween.   

Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY), who chairs a House subcommittee on maritime transportation, in a letter to the CDC warned of the dangers of cruise ships amid the pandemic.

'The insidious nature of COVID-19 and the physical infrastructure constraints on cruise ships makes containing potential outbreaks on board these ships an incredibly difficult task even with the best practices and procedures in place,' Maloney wrote.

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