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CDC modifies no sail order to allow for phased return of US cruising

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued what it is calling a “framework for conditional sailing order” that in theory means cruising can resume in US waters.

In effect replacing the CDC’s no sail order, which had prevented lines from operating in the US, the new order does not spell out when passenger services will resume, but instead outlines “a phased approach” and a “framework of actionable items for the cruise line industry to follow”.

A statement said: “During the initial phases, cruise ship operators must demonstrate adherence to testing, quarantine and isolation, and social distancing requirements to protect crew members while they build the laboratory capacity needed to test crew and future passengers.”

Following this, the CDC said that lines will operate test voyages, “with volunteers playing the role of passengers to test cruise ship operators’ ability to mitigate Covid-19 risk”.

CDC director Robert R. Redfield added: “This framework provides a pathway to resume safe and responsible 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.

“The 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.”

Responding to the announcement, CLIA president and CEO Kelly Craighead said: “While we look forward to reviewing the new Order in detail, we expect much of the Healthy Sail Panel’s recommendations, which were adopted by CLIA’s global of directors earlier this month, have been considered and will serve as an important foundation.

“The cruise industry and the CDC have a long track record of working together in the interest of public health and we look forward to continuing to build upon this legacy to support the resumption of cruising from US ports.

“With enhanced measures in place, and with the continued guidance of leading experts in health and science as well as the CDC, we are confident that a resumption of cruising in the US is possible to support the economic recovery while maintaining a focus on effective and science-based measures to protect public health.”

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