WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance for the cruise industry on Friday, including the need for COVID-19 vaccines, a necessary step before passenger travel can be resumed.
The new technical instructions, the first update since October, include increasing the frequency of weekly to daily reporting of COVID-19 cases and illnesses and implementing routine testing of the entire crew based on the COVID-19 status of a ship and the establishment of a plan and schedule for the vaccination of port crew and personnel.
“COVID-19 vaccination efforts will be critical to the safe resumption of passenger operations,” the CDC said.
The CDC said the next phase of the CDC’s conditional navigation order will include simulated trips to allow port crew and personnel to practice the new COVID-19 operating procedures with volunteers before sailing with passengers.
“CDC is committed to working with the cruise industry and port partners to resume shipping when it is safe to do so, following the phased approach outlined” in the October conditional shipping order, “the agency said.
It did not specify a date for the resumption of cruise operations from US ports despite requests from the industry to plan for a gradual resumption in early July. The CDC said it will issue additional guidance before allowing cruises to resume.
The International Cruise Lines Association, which represents Carnival Corp, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruises and others, had pleaded with the CDC to issue new guidance, saying in a March 24 statement that “the inaction by part of the CDC has effectively banned all travel on the world’s largest cruise market. ”He did not immediately comment on Friday.
The group had said that the previous conditional shipping order issued in October was “out of date” and “does not reflect the proven progress and success of the industry operating in other parts of the world, or the advent of vaccines, and treats unfairly cruises differently. ” Cruise lines should be treated the same as other travel, tourism, hospitality and entertainment industries. “