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U.S. extends ban on cruise ships as CDC says coronavirus ‘continues to expand rapidly’

The United States on Thursday, citing a pandemic that “continues to spread rapidly around the world with no treatment or vaccine,” extended its ban on cruises through early fall.

The no-sail order, first implemented April 9, was updated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which said because the disease saw its largest single-day number of infections worldwide on July 12, now is the time to ensure no cruise ships operate from American shores.

The CDC said in its updated order that from March 1 to July 10, COVID-19 on cruise ships took 34 lives. It said 80 precent of cruise ships in U.S. jurisdiction were impacted by the virus during that time.

The last no-sail order was in effect through July 24. This one is in effect through Sept. 30.

“Cruise ship operators shall not embark any new passengers or crew,” the latest order states.

The Cruise Lines International Association extended its voluntary suspension of operations for member carriers through Sept. 15.

In a statement Thursday the association said, “CLIA and its member lines remain aligned with the CDC in our commitment to public health and safety.”

It expressed hope that safety protocols would eventually lead to the “safe resumption of cruise operations around the world,” which the organization said would buoy more than 1 million jobs worldwide and generate $150 billion in economic activity.

Canada, Australia and much of the Caribbean also have similar restrictions in place through the fall, the CDC said.

In March, two of the earliest and largest outbreaks of coronavirus happened aboard two cruise ships, the Diamond Princess in Japan and the Grand Princess in California.

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