July 17 2020
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has extended the ‘no sail order’ on cruise ships as a result of the continuing global spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The original order banning ships from the seas was imposed in March and has been extended for the second time until 30 September. The CDC said that as of 10 July, almost 3,000 cases of COVID-19 or COVID-like illness have been recorded on cruise ships, including 34 deaths.
The CDC said its data revealed 99 different outbreaks on 123 ships, which the experts said meant that 80% of ships within the US jurisdiction have been impacted by the pandemic. Currently, nine have ongoing virus outbreaks on board and much more needs to be done before passengers can return, the CDC said in a press release Thursday.
“On cruise ships, passengers and crew share spaces that are more crowded than most urban settings,” the CDC noted, as it justified the continued ban on ships that can carry 250 passengers or more.
“Even when only essential crew are on board, ongoing spread of COVID-19 still occurs. If unrestricted cruise ship passenger operations were permitted to resume, passengers and crew on board would be at increased risk of COVID-19 infection and those that work or travel on cruise ships would place substantial unnecessary risk on healthcare workers, port personnel and federal partners and the communities they return to.”
While the industry body, the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), has agreed to continue suspending passenger operations voluntarily, the CDC said it was extended the ‘no sail order’ to ensure that no ships outside the association set sail with any passengers before the end of September.
Cruise ships played a significant role in spreading the virus around the world. The cruise companies already had a poor reputation for the way other infectious diseases and food poisoning outbreaks have been handled.
In recent years the cruise companies also had to deal with negative publicity swirling round the industry regarding the exploitation of workers and an appalling environmental record, as well as a backlash from the communities in many ports of call.
For complete CDC Directive click below
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.