WASHINGTON D.C. (KRON) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the next phase of guidance for cruise ship operators as the industry navigates new waters in the COVID-19 pandemic.
First issued in October, the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) requires cruise lines to make agreements with the ports they intend to operate with to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
This second update provides technical instructions on:
- Increasing from weekly to daily the reporting frequency of COVID-19 cases and illnesses.
- Implementing routine testing of all crew based on each ship’s color status.
- Updating the color-coding system used to classify ships’ status with respect to COVID-19.
- Decreasing the time needed for a “red” ship to become “green” from 28 to 14 days based on the availability of onboard testing, routine screening testing protocols, and daily reporting.
- Creating planning materials for agreements that port authorities and local health authorities must approve to ensure cruise lines have the necessary infrastructure in place to manage an outbreak of COVID-19 on their ships to include healthcare capacity and housing to isolate infected people and quarantine those who are exposed.
- Establishing a plan and timeline for vaccination of crew and port personnel.
The next phase of the CSO will include simulated (trial) voyages that will allow crew and port personnel to practice new COVID-19 operational procedures with volunteers before sailing with passengers.
What can now be described as a bad omen, the Grand Princess cruise ship, which was carrying several passengers positive with the coronavirus, docked at the Port of Oakland over a year ago, bringing the reality of the pandemic to the Bay Area’s doorstep.