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U.S. allows 'Conditional Sailing Order' to expire on 15 January

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced it will be letting its 'Temporary Extension and Modification of Framework for Conditional Sailing Order' (CSO) expire on 15 January 2021.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced it will be letting its ‘Temporary Extension and Modification of Framework for Conditional Sailing Order’ (CSO) expire on 15 January 2021.

The U.S. CDC says the framework, which will expire on 15 January, will be transitioning to a COVID-19 risk mitigation program for foreign-flagged cruise ships operating in U.S. waters.

The new program is set to include recommendations and guidance for cruise ships to continue to operate in a way that provides a safer and healthier environment for crew, passengers, and communities.

According to a statement issued by the CDC, cruise ships operating in U.S. waters that choose to participate in the program must agree to follow all guidance issued by the organisation to assist the industry in detecting, mitigating, and controlling the spread of COVID-19 onboard cruise ships.

International cruise ships operating in U.S. waters that choose not to participate in the program will be labelled as a ‘grey’ ship, meaning that the CDC has not reviewed or confirmed the cruise ship operator’s health and safety protocols.

Port of Seattle
Port of Seattle

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) responded to the news in a statement.

‘When cases are identified as a result of the high frequency of testing onboard, cruise ship protocols help to maximize onboard containment with rapid response procedures designed to safeguard all other guests and crew as well as the communities that the ships visit,’ the organisation said.

‘Given the uniquely high vaccination rate required on board, the incidence of serious illness is dramatically lower than on land, and hospitalizations have been extraordinarily rare even while landside hospitalizations are peaking.’

CLIA said ocean-going cruise line members will continue to be guided by the science and the principle of putting people first, with proven measures that are adapted as conditions warrant to protect the health of cruise passengers, crewmembers, and destinations.

In the U.S., cruise is the only sector that continuously monitors, collects, and reports case information directly to the CDC.

More information is set to be released by the CDC soon.

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