CDC Extends 'No Sail' Order for U.S. Cruise Ships Through End of October

FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas ship

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have extended their no sail order, banning cruise ships from U.S. ports until Oct. 31.

In a news release published Thursday, the health organization noted that cruise ship travel “continues to transmit and amplify the spread” of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

“On cruise ships, passengers and crew share spaces that are more crowded than most urban settings,” the release said. “If unrestricted cruise ship passenger operations were permitted to resume, passengers and crew on board would be at increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

It added that allowing cruise ships at this time “would place substantial unnecessary risk on healthcare workers, port personnel and federal partners (i.e., Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard), and the communities they return to.”

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The new extension comes one day after the previous no sail order from the CDC was set to expire. The Oct. 31 date falls in line with the cruise industry's self-imposed ban on sailing, though CDC director Robert Redfield pushed to extend the order through February of 2021 to prevent further outbreaks of the virus.

According to a Monday report from Axios, Redfield’s request was overruled by other members of the Trump administration's coronavirus task force, including Vice President Mike Pence.

The CDC first issued a no sail order on March 14 and was intended to stay in place for 30 days. At the time, several cruise ships across the world had become sources of major coronavirus outbreaks.

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One ship, the Grand Princess, was quarantined off San Francisco after 21 people on board tested positive for the virus in March. That ship eventually docked in the port of Oakland and those on board quarantined on land.

Another cruise ship, the Holland America, reported 4 dead and 233 ill on two of its ships heading for Ft. Lauderdale as of March 27, after being turned away from ports in South America.

“Cruise ships are incubators,” infectious disease expert Dr. William Haseltine previously told PEOPLE. “Everybody’s close together, packed in all the time. One person gets sick, a lot of them get sick. It’s a very unfavorable environment for disease transmission.”

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