The White House has tried to block a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Order which was set to extend a ‘no sail’ order on the cruise industry until February, 2021, according to reports from America.
According to the New York Times, the move was seen as potentially embarrassing to the campaign of President Donald Trump, as it might upset the politically powerful tourism industry in the crucial swing state of Florida.
It was reported that Vice President Mike Pence ordered the CDC to drop the extension and get cruise ships sailing by the end of October.
But today, just two hours before the order was set to expire, the powerful medical body, which has had a sometimes confrontational relationship with the cruise industry, maintained the order would stay until November 1.
USA Today reported the CDC has asked for the order be extended to February 15, 2021 , but “compromised with the White House Task Force” to extend until Oct. 31 – four days before the Nov. 3 election.
Cruise lines are determined to open up its most lucrative market in time for the Christmas holidays, producing new health protocols and pointing out that European lines like MSC and Costa are already successfully sailing with few cases of COVID-19.
Dr Robert R Redfield, the director of the CDC, is opposing the move saying there were still concerns about the safety of passengers.
Brian Morgenstern, the White House deputy press secretary, said that the administration’s cruise ship plans were not politically motivated.
“The president, the vice president and the task force follow the science and data to implement policies that protect the public health and also facilitate the safe reopening of our country,” he said.
The Cruise Lines International Association said the industry generates US$53 billion in economic activity for America.
President Donald Trump has included the chairmen of three major cruise lines – Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian – on a White House task force formed in April to advise him on ways to reopen the country.
The industry is seeking a gradual resumption of sailing starting with voyages having crew members posing as passengers. The plan is based on the recommendations from the Healthy Sail Panel which was established by Norwegian Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean.
Dr Stephen Ostroff, a former acting commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration who serves on the Healthy Sail group, said the panel has recommended that cruise passengers be tested before arriving at the ship and then before boarding.
“The one thing that you want to make sure of is that the virus doesn’t get on there in the first place,” Dr. Ostroff said.
Bari Golin-Blaugrund, vice president of strategic communications for CLIA told USA TODAY: “We look forward to engaging in a thoughtful and productive dialogue with our partners and regulators in the United States to return to cruising in the region,”
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