Although travel companies have been thrilled about the U.S. reopening to vaccinated visitors from November, the pandemic is far from over, so the industry can't be complacent in fighting Covid variants.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday extended the conditional sailing order for cruises to Jan. 15 next year from Nov. 1 on concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
The order, issued last October, mandated testing and some additional safeguards for crew members as part of a framework for a phased resumption of cruises.
The public health agency said the extension includes minor changes and when the order is lifted it will shift to a “voluntary program” and work alongside ship operators to control COVID-19 numbers aboard cruise ships.
The highly contagious variant had earlier this year led to a surge in infections and hospitalizations in the United States, but cases have started to decrease in recent weeks.
The CDC had in May initiated a key step for the eventual resumption of U.S. cruise industry operations by issuing new technical instructions.
(Reporting by Ruhi Soni and Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)
The Daily Newsletter
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Photo credit: Crews on cruise ships will have to follow additional Covid protocols. Seaq68 / Pixabay