CDC Announces Cruise Ships Can Resume Operations

CDC Announces Cruise Ships Can Resume Operations
A general view of the CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sept. 30, 2014. (Tami Chappell/Reuters)
Paula Liu
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a conditional sailing order (pdf) for cruise ships on Oct. 30 that allowed for the resumption of cruise operations.

Although the CDC has allowed for cruises to start operating again, the actual sailing will not be commenced until operation requirements are met.

“The initial phases will consist of testing and additional safeguards for crew members. 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,” the order read.

The follow-up requirements will include running simulations in order to make sure that crew members on cruises are able to identify and tackle the risk of a CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus infection, certifying the cruise ships that pass certain requirements, and allowing passengers on cruise ships in a manner that will reduce the risk of CCP virus infections.

“This order additionally announces requirements for the initial phase relating to crew testing,” the order stated. The CDC believes that doing laboratory testing is important before passenger operations can begin again.

"This framework provides a pathway to resume safe and responsible for sailing. It will mitigate the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks on ships and prevent passengers and crew from seeding outbreaks at ports and in the communities where they live,” said Robert R. Redfield, the director of the CDC, in a statement.

The new order will be effective as soon as it is signed, and will be in effect until Nov. 1, 2021 unless circumstances change.

“CDC and the cruise industry have a shared goal to protect crew, passengers, and communities and will continue to work together to ensure that all necessary public health procedures are in place before cruise ships begin sailing with passengers,” Redfield said.

The new order overrides a previous no sail order that was issued on March 14, when the director of the CDC believed that there was considerable risk in resuming operations.

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