A ban on large ships in Canadian waters has been extended until the end of October in an attempt to contain Covid-19.

The decision effectively writes off the Alaska summer cruise season as many ships depart from ports in western Canada such as Vancouver.

Many lines have already cancelled Alaska itineraries as part of the global postponement of all cruises to limit the spread of the virus.

Canadian transport Minister Marc Garneau said passenger ships with overnight accommodation for more than 100 people – including both passengers and crew – will not be able to operate in Canadian waters until at least October 31.

The move extends and expands an order issued in mid-March that barred ships with more than 500 passengers from Canadian waters until July.

More than two million visitors were brought to Canadian ports last year by 140 cruise ships.

Garneau said: “Keeping Canadians and transportation workers safe continues to be my top priority during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

This will create a significant economic hardship for Canada’s tourism industry but he indicated the federal tourism department is working on a plan to help.

Ships with more than 12 passengers have been banned from travel to the Arctic until at least October 31 to avoid the possibility of carrying Covid-19 to a remote northern community.