Cruise ships that can carry more than 250 passengers are required to continue to suspend their operations through the end of October, the CDC announced on Wednesday.
The CDC extended its no-sail order — which started on March 14 and was reissued on July 16 — to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, particularly as cases increase again in various countries.
“Recent outbreaks on cruise ships overseas provide current evidence that cruise ship travel continues to transmit and amplify the spread,” even when ships sail at a reduced passenger capacity, the CDC wrote in a statement.
These outbreaks “would likely spread the infection into U.S. communities if passenger operations were to resume prematurely in the United States,” the CDC added.
Between March 1 and Sept. 28, more than 3,600 COVID-19 cases or COVID-19-like illnesses and 41 deaths were reported on cruise ships in U.S. waters, the CDC said.
In addition, 102 outbreaks have been reported on 124 cruise ships, meaning 82% of ships in U.S. jurisdiction were affected by COVID-19 this year. Four cruise ships still have ongoing issues.
The CDC cited “ongoing concerns” about restarting international cruises and said the industry needs “additional time” to assess the right measures to prevent the spread of the virus on board cruise ships.
Even when only essential crew are on board, the virus continues to spread, the CDC wrote.
“Cruise ships continue to be an unsafe environment with close quarters where the disease spreads easily and is not readily detected,” the CDC wrote. “Recent passenger voyages in foreign countries continue to have outbreaks, despite cruise ship operators having extensive health and safety protocols.”
CDC, “Cruise Ship Guidance: No Sail Order for Cruise Ships.”
CDC, “Cruise Ship No Sail Order Extended Through October 31, 2020.”