The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is extending its "no sail" order for all cruise ships as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread. The order to halt cruise operations was first issued March 14.
The agency said in a statement Thursday: "The measures we are taking today to stop the spread of COVID-19 are necessary to protect Americans, and we will continue to provide critical public health guidance to the industry to limit the impacts of COVID-19 on its workforce throughout the remainder of this pandemic."
The CDC says at least 10 ships have reported crew or passengers that tested positive for the virus or experienced respiratory or influenza-like illness in recent weeks. In addition, the agency says it's aware of 20 ships at port in the U.S. with known or suspected cases of the coronavirus among crew onboard. About 100 cruise ships remain at sea off the East Coast, West Coast, and Gulf Coast, with nearly 80,000 crew onboard.
The agency says assisting these ships is costly for the government and takes resources away from other COVID-19 suppression efforts. As a result, cruise ships are being required to develop CDC and U.S. Coast Guard approved plans to address outbreaks with limited reliance on the government.
The "no sail" order will remain in effect until the secretary of Health and Human Services no longer considers the virus a public health emergency; the CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order; or until 100 days have passed since the date of publication of the order in the Federal Register.
Contains footage from CNN.