CDC Stops Reporting COVID-19 Levels for Cruise Ships, Says Companies Can Handle Their Own Rules

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
July 19, 2022 Updated: July 22, 2022

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday ended its COVID-19 program for cruise ships that reported cases of the virus, while saying that ships can handle their own testing and mitigation.

“CDC has worked closely with the cruise industry, state, territorial, and local health authorities, and federal and seaport partners to provide a safer and healthier environment for cruise passengers and crew,” the federal agency’s website said in an update on Monday. “Cruise ships have access to guidance and tools to manage their own COVID-19 mitigation programs.”

“While cruising poses some risk of COVID-19 transmission,” the agency said, the “CDC will continue to publish guidance to help cruise ships continue to provide a safer and healthier environment for crew, passengers, and communities going forward.” The agency did not post a date for the latest guidance, but an Epoch Times review of archived pages shows that the update was posted Monday.

Throughout the pandemic, the cruise industry worldwide has been gutted by lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and other government-imposed rules. Cruise industry groups have called on the CDC to end its program for months.

Health officials have often scrutinized cruise ships and warned that the vessels allow for widespread transmission of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. In early 2020, extensive media coverage was dedicated to an outbreak on the Diamond Princess ship in Japan, prompting health agencies worldwide to place curbs on cruises.

‘Important Step Forward’

In a statement Monday, Cruise Lines International Association spokeswoman Anne Madison told USA Today that it’s pleased the rules were dropped “in favor of a set of guidelines for public health operations on cruise ships

“We look forward to reviewing the details, which we understand will be posted on the CDC website in the coming days,” she told the news outlet. “This is an important step forward in the CDC aligning the guidelines for cruise with those it has established for other travel, hospitality, and entertainment sectors.”

The CDC used a so-called “Conditional Sailing Order” throughout the pandemic after having first issued a no-sail order in 2020. The CDC dropped the conditional order as well as its color-coded COVID-19 warning system earlier this year, which was also hailed by cruise industry groups.

As for mandatory vaccination rules on ships, several fully vaccinated cruises have faced respective COVID-19 outbreaks so far in 2022.

A “100 percent vaccinated” Princess Cruises vessel, for example, reported a COVID-19 outbreak before it docked in San Francisco, officials said in late March.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis fought against COVID-19 restrictions for cruise ships, including vaccine mandates. Last year, the Republican governor vowed that he would take legal measures to end the enforcement of CDC rules at ports in Florida, which are used by major cruise operators.

Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.