US extends Covid rules for cruises to January

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extended its Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) for cruise ships until January 15, 2022.

The CSO was introduced in October 2020, bringing in health and safety protocols to manage Covid-19, to pave the way for the resumption of cruising in the US.

However, CDC has decided to temporarily extend the CSO “due to the continued spread of the Delta variant”.

After this temporary extension, CDC will move to a voluntary programme “to assist the cruise industry to detect, mitigate, and control the spread of Covid-19 onboard cruise ships”.

It said: “While cruising will always pose some risk of disease spread, CDC remains committed to ensuring that cruising is conducted in way that protects crew members, passengers, port personnel, and communities.”

Cruise trade body Cruise Lines International Association (Clia) issued a statement in response to the CDC announcement, saying: “The changes to the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), announced today, show that the Biden administration and the [CDC] recognise the cruise industry’s successful resumption of operations.

“We look forward to demonstrating the industry’s continued leadership in this final phase of the CSO, and to carrying out a smooth transition when the Order comes to an end on 15 January 2022.

“Cruise industry protocols are unique in their approach to monitor, detect, and respond to potential cases of Covid-19.

“As a result, Clia-member ocean-going cruise ships are sailing today with some of the highest levels of Covid-19 mitigation of any industry.”

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