On April 9th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States announced the extension of the non-navigation order for all cruise ships in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The “No Sail Order” will remain in effect for 100 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register, either until the expiration of the declaration by the Secretary of Health and Social Services that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency. Or until the CDC director cancels or changes the order based on specific public health or other considerations.
The first of these three situations will prevail.
"Cruises significantly increase risk and impact"
The CDC stresses that the No Sail Order reinforces the “strong,” “early and decisive” action of U.S. President Donald J. Trump to slow the spread of the pandemic.
"But despite these efforts, cruise ship travel significantly increases the risk and impact of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States," said the CDC.
The CDC says that in the past few weeks, at least 10 cruise ships have reported crew members or passengers who have tested positive or experienced respiratory symptoms or flu-like illness.
According to the CDC, there are approximately 100 cruise ships at sea off the East Coast, the West Coast and the Gulf Coast, with nearly 80,000 crew members on board.
In addition, the CDC says they are aware of 20 cruise ships in port or at anchor in the United States with possible COVID-19 infection in the crew.
By press release, CLIA reacted to the extension of the No Sail Order.
The Association does not appreciate the fact that cruises are singled out by the CDC as an aggravating factor in the pandemic, while the industry is working closely with the CDC and other health authorities.
CLIA notes that the cruise industry was one of the first to announce a voluntary suspension of its operations and that it was very proactive in escalating its health and sanitation protocols.
"Although it is tempting to incriminate cruises because of their high visibility, the fact remains that cruises are neither the source nor the cause of the virus or its spread," says CLIA.
CLIA also notes that cruise activities support several sectors in the American economy.
"If the non-navigation order were to extend beyond the appropriate time to resume business, the economic impact could be significant since each day of suspension results in a total economic loss of approximately $92 million", warns CLIA.