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Questions the CDC wanted answered before cruise ships sail again

In one of my previous blog posts, I mentioned that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is soliciting public comment regarding the cruise industry. We all know that the CDC has to sign off that it’s safe to cruise again, and this is just one step in that direction.

To prepare you for this task, take a look at the following questions and be sure to answer them in detail. The government frequently requests public comment on a wide range of issues, but most often, people comment with emotional statements, not concrete solutions.

Here’s a link to the Federal Register to make comments:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/07/21/2020-15812/request-for-information-related-to-cruise-ship-planning-and-infrastructure-resumption-of-passenger

Here’s a few of the specific questions they want answered. Go to it!

1. Given the challenges of eliminating COVID-19 on board cruise ships while operating with reduced crew on board during the period of the April 15, 2020 No Sail Order Extension, what methods, strategies, and practices should cruise ship operators implement to prevent COVID-19 transmission when operating with passengers?

2. How should cruise ship operators bolster their internal public health programs with public health experts and invest in a robust public health infrastructure to ensure compliance with measures to detect, prevent, and control the spread of COVID-19?

3. How should cruise ship operators ensure internal public health programs are involved in all levels of decision-making processes relating to passenger and crew operations, crew welfare and mental health, occupational health, food safety, potable and recreational water safety, outbreak prevention and management response, and illness surveillance?

4. What is the feasibility of conducting COVID-19 diagnostic testing using FDA-approved or authorized laboratory tests on board a cruise ship?

a. Should specimens be tested on board or should specimens be collected on board for commercial testing onshore?

b. How frequently should cruise ship operators test all passengers and crew?

c. What would be the anticipated financial cost of testing all passengers and crew?

5. Because reports of illness may lead to restrictions on crew activities, how should cruise ship operators encourage crew members to report mild symptoms of COVID-like illness to medical personnel?

a. How should cruise ship operators encourage medical personnel to report these cases to CDC?

6. What should be the medical capacity to manage an outbreak or a severe case of COVID-19 on board the ship?

a. What arrangements should cruise ship operators have with private companies to transport and obtain medical care shoreside for passengers and crew with severe COVID-19?

7. What pre-arrangements should be made to ensure that all U.S. seaport communities will accept a returning ship after a COVID-19 outbreak is identified?

8. What plans should cruise ship operators have for operationalizing shoreside quarantine facilities in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak on board a ship, without exposing the public and without relying on Federal, State, or local resources?

9. Due to obstacles with commercial travel thus far, what pre-arrangements should cruise ship operators make with the airline industry to accept crew and passengers from ships not affected by COVID-19?

10. How should cruise ship operators address specific country travel restrictions that emerge as COVID-19 activity increases in geographical areas, such as

a. border closures preventing passengers and crew from repatriating?

b. seaport closures preventing porting of ships?

c. embarking passengers originating from countries with heightened COVID-19 activity?

11. What measures should cruise ship operators be required to take to reduce the burden on U.S. government resources if foreign seaports deny cruise ships the ability to come into port during a voyage?

12. Given difficulties cruise ship operators have experienced when repatriating crew via non-commercial transportation, what preparations should the industry make to repatriate passengers or crew via non-commercial transportation after COVID-19 is identified on board?

13. What innovations should cruise ship operators develop to reduce transmission of COVID-19 on board ships and how would these innovations be effective?

14. Should cruise ship operators implement other interventions to decrease or prevent the spread of COVID-19 on board ships?

15. What evidence of efficacy or other rationale exists for any public health interventions that cruise ship operators propose to take on board ships?

About Scott Lara

Navy Veteran, Travel Agent, love to cruise!

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