Adding to its updated guidance advising that fully vaccinated Americans can safely travel again, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday (Apr. 2) also issued new guidance to the cruise ship industry.
As part of its technical instructions, the CDC’s update outlines the need for COVID-19 vaccinations as a necessary step before passenger sailings can resume out of U.S. ports.
It is the first major update issued by the CDC since October, when the U.S. health agency said its "no sail" order would expire and be replaced by a Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) for Cruise Ships, which took effect Nov. 1, 2020.
The CDC’s new instructions for the cruise industry include increasing from weekly to daily reporting frequency of COVID-19 cases and implementing routine testing of all crew based on a ship’s COVID-19 status.
It also includes establishing a plan and timeline for the vaccination of crew and port workers.
“COVID-19 vaccination efforts will be critical in the safe resumption of passenger operations,” the CDC said.
The next phase of the CDC’s condition sail order will involve simulated voyages so crew and ports can practice their new operational procedures, said the CDC.
Despite calls from the cruise industry to resume operations from U.S. ports this summer, the CDC is upholding its CSO until at least November, it was announced in March.
The CDC has not yet outlined an official date for the resumption of cruising out of U.S. ports, but noted that it will issue official updated guidance before that time comes.
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