CDC extend no sail order for all cruise ships
Topics: CRUISE SHIP
The No Sail Order reinforces the strong action by President Donald J. Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force to combat the spread of coronavirus in the United States.
President Trump acted early and decisively to implement travel restrictions on foreign nationals who had recently been to China and Europe and by issuing the 30 Days to Slow the Spread guidelines.
These containment and mitigation strategies have been a critical component of the United States COVID-19 response, but despite these efforts, cruise ship travel markedly increases the risk and impact of the COVID-19 outbreak within the United States.
In recent weeks, at least 10 cruise ships reported crew or passengers that tested positive or experienced respiratory symptoms or influenza-like illness.
Currently, there are approximately 100 cruise ships remaining at sea off the East Coast, West Coast, and Gulf Coast, with nearly 80,000 crew onboard.
Additionally, CDC is aware of 20 cruise ships at port or anchorage in the United States with known or suspected COVID-19 infection among the crew who remain onboard.
There are several public health concerns when crew members become ill while onboard the cruise ships.
As we have seen with the passenger illness response on cruise ships, safely evacuating, triaging, and repatriating cruise ship crew has involved complex logistics, incurs financial costs at all levels of government, and diverts resources away from larger efforts to suppress or mitigate COVID-19.
The addition of further COVID-19 cases from cruise ships also places healthcare workers at substantial increased risk.
Some of these ships off the coast of the United States have crew that are not critical to maintain the seaworthiness or basic safe operation of the cruise ships, such as the vessel’s hotel and hospitality staff.
The U.S. Government remains committed to humanitarian medevac for individuals in dire need of life-saving support.
The CDC, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Department of Homeland Security have been working with the industry to determine the most appropriate public health strategy to limit the impact of COVID-19 at cruise ship ports of entry in the United States.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) voluntarily suspended cruise ship operations in March in conjunction with the earlier No Sail Order issued March 14.
The industry has since been working to build an illness response framework to combat COVID-19 on ships with international crew members who remain on board and at sea.
This order ceases operations of cruise ships in waters in which the United States may exert jurisdiction and requires that they develop a comprehensive, detailed operational plan approved by CDC and the USCG to address the COVID-19 pandemic through maritime focused solutions, including a fully implementable response plan with limited reliance on state, local, and federal government support. ■