The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Robert Redfield, has extended his praise to the cruise line industry. The CDC is now offering a “Conditional Sail Order” that will allow ships with confirmed cases of measles or other diseases to dock in port before they head out on their voyage.
The “carnival pride 2021 cruise director” is a post published by the CDC Director on the Carnival Cruise Line. The article praises the company for its safety and quality standards.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky praised cruise lines’ collaboration with the CDC and the effectiveness of their response to onboard cases during a January 11, 2022 U.S. Senate committee hearing addressing new variants and the overall COVID-19 response, while also predicting that the Conditional Sail Order will not be renewed when it expires on January 15.
COVID Response, including Cruises, is discussed during a hearing.
During the 4-hour meeting, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions addressed a variety of issues related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the response to the new Omicron variant that has cases surging worldwide.
The cruise industry’s participation with the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was briefly discussed throughout the conversation (CDC).
Senator Murkowski testifies in front of the Senate on January 11, 2022.
Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska applauded the cruise industry’s reaction to the pandemic at the hearing, saying, “In fairness, the sector as a whole has taken exceptional efforts to ensure that passengers are protected from this illness.” She then went on to seek Dr. Walensky for reassurance that the Alaskan cruise season in 2022 would go forward.
The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention praises cruise lines.
“The industry has stepped up and is now interested in surpassing the compliance with the Sail Order without the order necessarily having to be in place,” Dr. Walensky responded to Sen. Mukowski’s worries.
On October 30, 2020, the first Conditional Sailing Order was issued. The order was altered multiple times as advice and guidelines changed to match the changing circumstances of the pandemic, and it was temporarily extended until January 15, 2022 in October 2021 in light of the Delta variant.
To guarantee that ships’ medical facilities are not overburdened and port hospital resources are not taxed, the CDC and the cruise industry collaborated to monitor health and safety regulations, as well as reactions to aboard cases.
Cases are on the rise, but the CSO is unlikely to be extended.
“Just over the past two weeks with Omicron, we’ve witnessed a 30-fold spike in instances aboard ships,” Walensky said. “We anticipate that this [CSO] will not be renewed,” she continued, “and that the cruise ship industries will continue to understand that this is a really safe practice,” referring to the health and safety protocols cruise lines have already implemented in accordance with the CDC’s guidance and recommendations.
Katherine Welles of Shutterstock.com contributed to this image.
Even when the Conditional Sailing Order expires, the CDC will continue to offer technical support and monitoring to cruise companies to maintain the safest possible procedures.
However, Walensky said that she “can’t foretell what the summer would bring.”
Even if the CSO is allowed to expire on January 15, it is likely that a new CDC directive or supplementary advice may be prepared if pandemic circumstances warrant it.
Also see: Is the CDC’s Cruise Ship Color Chart Still Effective?
This comes as no surprise to cruise passengers, who have seen cruise lines adapt vaccination and testing requirements, mask policies, contact tracing, social distancing, and other onboard protocols as needed in response to updated CDC guidance and requirements from various ports of call cruise ship homeports.
All cruisers will need to be flexible with their expectations for cruise travel in the following weeks and months, and prepared to adjust to changing circumstances as required.
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