(Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended its “no sail order” for all cruise ships, as it looks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The new CDC order https://bit.ly/3a1Ar9I says that cruise ships have to cease operations for up to 100 days, or the expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency, or if the CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order.
The order, dated April 9, comes as the cruise industry takes a hit from the novel coronavirus outbreak, with trips across the globe either canceled or suspended and refunds issued to customers.
Many cruise ship lines have already voluntarily suspended most of their operations.
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), however, rang alarm bells after the CDC order. “We are … concerned about the unintended consequences of the order in its singling out an industry that has been proactive in its escalation of health and sanitation protocols,” the industry body said.
The CLIA added the potential impact of the order includes a $51 billion loss to the American economy and 343,000 lost jobs, if the novel coronavirus pandemic lasts a year.
Four of the cruise lines belonging to the world’s largest cruise operator Carnival Corp said last month they would extend the suspension of all voyages by a month to May while rival Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd said it would return to service by May 12.
Currently, there are about 100 cruise ships remaining at sea off the East Coast, West Coast, and Gulf Coast, with nearly 80,000 crew onboard, the CDC noted, and said there are 20 cruise ships at port or anchorage in the United States with known or suspected COVID-19 infection among the crew who remain onboard.
The earlier “no sail order” was issued on March 14.
(Reporting by Shanti S Nair and additional reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)