While the last cruise passengers were able to disembark in early June, thousands of crew members are still awaiting repatriation without pay, and some are still contracting Covid-19 on board.
To alert travelers, the CDC issued a Level 3 travel health notice on March 17, 2020, with a clear recommendation to avoid all cruise travel.
Cumulative data from the organisation covering 1 March to 10 July reveals there were 2,973 Covid-19 or Covid-like illnesses on cruise ships, plus 34 deaths. There have been 99 outbreaks covering 80% of the ships in US waters, the CDC said.
Professor John Oxford, a virology professor at Queen Mary University of London, said cruise ships were "very prone to outbreaks" of common cold and norovirus. However, the CDC stated it is allowing crew members now at sea to disembark in US waters, under certain conditions.
Cruise company officials must sign an acknowledgment of the completeness and accuracy of their response plans.
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The CDC said it was concerned whether cruise ships operating now with reduced crews were complying with practices created to prevent transmitting the virus. During this time frame, 80 percent of ships were affected by COVID-19.
If full-scale sailing resumed, passengers and crew on board would be at increased risk of infection "and those that work or travel on cruise ships 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".
Cruise companies have been voluntarily delaying resuming their operations as well, with the risk of coronavirus spread remaining especially high in contained spaces.
"Our advice against cruises applies to global travel on a ship that is exclusively for pleasure or recreation, providing overnight accommodation and other leisure facilities such as entertainment venues or swimming pools".
A Miami Herald investigation has found at least 95 cruise passengers and crew have died worldwide from covid-19 across 72 ships, representing 28% of the global ocean cruise fleet.
Moreover, the CDC remains committed to humanitarian medical evacuation for people in need of life-saving support.