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CDC extends no-sail order for cruise ships through September

Jul 17, 2020 04:42 PM

As of July 10, the Coast Guard reported 67 cruise vessels with 14,702 crew on board

Courtesy Port Canaveral

The following is text of a news release from the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

(WASHINGTON) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday the extension of a no-sail order for cruise ships through Sept. 30. This order continues to suspend passenger operations on cruise ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers in waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

CDC supports the June 19th decision by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) to extend voluntarily the suspension of operations for passenger cruise ship travel until Sept. 15. In line with CLIA’s announcement of voluntary suspension of operation by its member companies, CDC has extended its no-sail order to ensure that passenger operations on cruise ships do not resume prematurely.

Cumulative CDC data from March 1 through July 10 shows 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 cruise ships. During this time frame, 80 percent of ships were affected by COVID-19. As of July 3, nine of the 49 ships under the no-sail order have ongoing or resolving outbreaks. According to U.S. Coast Guard data, as of July 10, there are 67 ships with 14,702 crew on board.

This order will remain in effect until whichever comes first: the expiration of the 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
Sept. 30.

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 health care workers, port personnel and federal partners (i.e., Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard), and the communities they return to.

Written comments can be submitted through the Federal Register notice, once published.

CDC will continue to update its guidance and recommendations to specify basic safety standards and public health interventions based on the best scientific evidence available. For more information about COVID-19 and cruise ships, click here. To view the no-sail order, click here.

Interim guidance during the period of the no-sail order

CDC is allowing crewmembers to disembark from all cruise ships in U.S. waters. Cruise ships with complete and accurate no-sail order response plans are able to disembark their crewmembers without a signed attestation if they use non-commercial travel and follow all CDC requirements to prevent interaction of disembarking crewmembers with the public. Cruise company officials must sign an acknowledgement of the completeness and accuracy of their response plans.

These cruise ships are also able to use commercial travel to disembark crewmembers if they meet certain criteria to show that they have no confirmed COVID cases or COVID-like illness on board. Crewmembers on these ships that are not affected by COVID-19 can also resume some of their daily interactions with fellow crewmembers.

CDC is committed to helping address crewmembers’ questions or concerns while onboard and as they disembark. Crewmembers on ships in or intending to be in U.S. waters who have questions about the process for disembarkation or who have concerns about what their ship is doing to prevent COVID-19 on board can share them with CDC by sending an email to eocevent431@cdc.gov.

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