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US CDC removes Covid-19 programme for cruise ships

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed it has dropped its programme for reporting Covid-19 cases on cruise ships.

Launched at the start of the pandemic and subsequent shutdown in cruise operations, it allowed the public to keep track of the spread of Covid-19 at sea.

The CDC said: “As of 18 July 2022, CDC’s Covid-19 Program for Cruise Ships is no longer in effect.

“New guidance for cruise ships to mitigate and manage Covid-19 transmission will be available in the coming days.”

In addition, on the FAQ section on its website, the CDC added: “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.

“Cruise ships have access to guidance and tools to manage their own Covid-19 mitigation programmes.

“Additionally, cruise travellers have access to recommendations that allow them to make informed decisions about cruise ship travel.

“While cruising poses some risk of Covid-19 transmission, 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.”

‘Cruise one of the safest forms of travel’

In response, CLIA said in a statement: “CLIA and its member cruise lines welcome the decision by the CDC to end the Covid-19 Program for Cruise Ships Operating in US Waters in favour 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.

“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 sunsetting of the programme, effective 18 July 2022, is a testament to the effectiveness of the industry’s comprehensive and robust protocols.

“In fact, cruising has become one of the safest forms of travel and among the most successful industries in mitigating the spread and severity of COVID-19, resulting in few passengers or crew becoming seriously ill or requiring hospitalisation compared to hospital statistics for landside patients.”

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