CDC relaxes coronavirus testing for cruise ships


FILE PHOTO: US Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings cruise ship Marina arrives at the Havana bay, Cuba March 9, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is loosening a major COVID-19 protocol for US cruise ships but still hasn't said when they will be able to resume sailing.

All staff and travelers aboard the ships should be vaccinated for COVID-19, but the cruise companies don't need to mandate vaccines to resume travel safely, the CDC said Monday.

Masks will be worn on board by staff and passengers, as well as at "all US transportation hubs, including seaports and ferry terminals", the agency said.

There was no immediate reaction from the Cruise Lines International Association, the world's largest cruise industry trade association, but "with no timing component, and only incremental in nature, this update disappointed the industry", said Brandt Montour of JPMorgan Chase in in a research note.

The CDC guidance came on the same day that Norwegian Cruise Lines asked the agency to let it sail from US ports starting July 4, saying its vaccination requirement for passengers and crew matches the CDC guidance that international travel is safe for fully vaccinated individuals.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio, in a letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Monday, said the company would start cruises at 60 percent capacity in July and then increase by 20 percent capacity every 30 days.

He also said the company would comply with protocols developed by a team of medical experts hired by the company last year, including antigen tests for passengers prior to boarding, mask-wearing and enhanced ship-board medical teams.

Norwegian and other major cruise lines haven't sailed in the US since coronavirus outbreaks on ships brought voyages to a halt last year.

Cruise ships were some of the first super-spreader sites for the coronavirus in 2020 and have been docked since.

Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has threatened to sue the federal government if the CDC doesn't allow cruises to restart by the summer.

On Friday, the CDC issued its latest update on protocol for cruise lines to sail. The new recommendations include increasing from weekly to daily the reporting of coronavirus cases, implementing routine testing of all crew based on a ship's COVID-19 status and making contractual arrangements with medical facilities on shore for passengers who may fall ill during a voyage.

On Monday, Norwegian said the vaccination requirement issued last week by the CDC eliminates the need for the agency's conditional-sailing order, which requires cruise operators to conduct mock sailings and apply for a certificate at least 60 days before offering passenger cruises.

Once cruise lines have prepared their ships, they must give 30 days' notice to the CDC before starting test cruises and will have to apply for a conditional sailing certificate 60 days before a planned regular voyage.

Cruise ships in the US have been docked for more than a year because of the pandemic and can restart operations only by following the CDC's Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, issued in October to ensure that cruise ships build the onboard infrastructure needed to mitigate the risks of the coronavirus.

Norwegian and other major cruise lines haven't sailed in the US since coronavirus outbreaks on ships year. Norwegian said the vaccination requirement issued last week by the CDC eliminates the need for the agency's conditional-sailing order, which requires cruise operators to conduct mock sailings and apply for a certificate at least 60 days before offering passenger cruises.

疾病控制和预防中心正在为美国游轮放松一项主要的新冠肺炎协议,但是仍然没有说他们什么时候能够恢复航行。


疾病预防控制中心周一表示,船上的所有工作人员和旅客都应该接种新冠肺炎疫苗,但邮轮公司不需要强制接种疫苗来恢复安全旅行。


该机构表示,工作人员和乘客将在飞机上以及“所有美国交通枢纽,包括海港和渡轮码头”佩戴口罩。


世界上最大的邮轮行业贸易协会邮轮国际协会(Cruise Lines International Association)没有立即做出反应,但摩根大通(JPMorgan Chase)的布兰德·蒙特(Brandt Montour)在一份研究报告中表示,“由于没有时间因素,而且本质上只是增量,这一更新令行业失望”。


疾控中心的指导意见是在挪威邮轮公司要求该机构从7月4日开始从美国港口启航的同一天发布的,称其对乘客和船员的疫苗接种要求符合疾控中心的指导意见,即国际旅行对完全接种疫苗的个人是安全的。


挪威邮轮控股公司首席执行官弗兰克·德尔里奥周一在给疾控中心主任罗谢尔·瓦伦斯基的一封信中表示,该公司将在7月份以60%的运力开始邮轮业务,然后每30天增加20%的运力。


他还表示,该公司将遵守该公司去年聘请的一个医疗专家团队制定的协议,包括登机前对乘客进行抗原检测、戴口罩和加强船上医疗团队。


自去年船只上冠状病毒爆发导致航行停止以来,挪威和其他主要邮轮公司一直没有在美国航行。


游轮是2020年第一批冠状病毒超级传播者,此后一直停靠在那里。


佛罗里达州共和党州长罗恩·德桑蒂斯(Ron DeSantis)威胁说,如果疾控中心不允许邮轮在夏季重新启动,他将起诉联邦政府。


周五,疾控中心发布了游轮航行协议的最新更新。新的建议包括将冠状病毒病例的报告从每周一次增加到每天一次,根据船只的新冠肺炎状态对所有船员进行常规检测,并与岸上的医疗设施为航行中可能生病的乘客做出合同安排。


周一,挪威人表示,疾控中心上周发布的疫苗接种要求消除了该机构有条件航行令的必要性,该命令要求邮轮运营商进行模拟航行,并在提供客运邮轮前至少60天申请证书。


一旦邮轮公司准备好船只,它们必须在开始试航前30天通知疾控中心,并必须在计划的定期航行前60天申请有条件的航行证书。


由于这一流行病,美国的游轮已经停靠了一年多,只有遵循疾控中心10月份发布的有条件航行令框架(Framework for条件式航行令),才能重启运营。该框架旨在确保游轮建造减轻冠状病毒风险所需的船上基础设施。


自去年船只上爆发冠状病毒以来,挪威和其他主要邮轮公司从未在美国航行过。挪威表示,疾控中心上周发布的疫苗接种要求消除了该机构有条件航行令的必要性,该命令要求邮轮运营商进行模拟航行,并在提供客运邮轮前至少60天申请证书。


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