PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. - Attention, guests — you’ll need a coronavirus test.
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has announced that its 50-plus member cruise lines have agreed to administer pre-boarding COVID-19 tests for all passengers and crew on ships carrying over 250 people.
CLIA, the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, which represents 95% of the world’s cruise capacity, announced the news on Tuesday.
"CLIA ocean cruise line members worldwide have agreed to conduct 100% testing of passengers and crew on all ships with a capacity to carry 250 or more persons — with a negative test required for any embarkation,” a spokesperson said in a statement shared to social media. “This is a travel industry first and an example of the cruise industry leading the way.
"We see testing as an important initial step to a multi-layered approach that we believe validates the industry's commitment to making health, safety and the well-being of the passengers, the crew and the communities we visit our top priority,” the announcement concluded.
The CLIA, which counts powerhouse cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and MSC as members, did not disclose whether seafarers would be subject to PCR or rapid testing before boarding, and the timeline for testing — and proving proof of a negative test — before setting sail.
Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extended a ban on large cruises in U.S. waters until Oct. 31, the CLIA’s new testing rule is "effective immediately worldwide," said Bari Golin-Blaugrund, vice president of strategic communications for the cruise industry trade association, per USA Today.
The CDC’s recent extension of the no-sail order, first issued in March, had been due to expire on Sept. 30.
“Recent passenger voyages in foreign countries continue to have outbreaks, despite cruise ship operators having extensive health and safety protocols,” the CDC said of the delay, per the Associated Press. Explaining the postponement, the public health institute pointed out that people on cruise ships must share more crowded quarters than typical urban settings.
The CDC said they're aware of 3,689 reported coronavirus cases and 41 deaths linked to cruises in U.S. waters between March and September. These numbers, however, are likely an undercount, the agency added.
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