U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal wants the CDC to extend its Conditional Sail Order instead of letting it expire this Saturday.
“Allowing the Conditional Sailing Order to expire would let cruise ships opt out of reporting COVID cases—troubling amid the growing tidal wave of new cases & the Omicron variant,” said the Senator in a Twitter post.
The Senator along with U.S. Representative Doris Matsui also sent a strongly worded letter to CLIA President and CEO Kelly Craighead.
“Passengers onboard ships with outbreaks say they have little accurate information about positive COVID-19 cases, and those who test positive report deplorable conditions. While ships continue sailing, cruise operators must take all actions necessary to prioritize the health and well-being of passengers and crew,” wrote Blumenthal and Matsui to the CLIA boss.
In a separate letter to the CDC, the officials wrote :“While the world battles the highest surge in COVID-19 cases to date, prioritizing and strongly enforcing measures that maximize the safety of all those onboard cruise ships is critical. Prematurely transitioning to a voluntary program could allow companies to skirt necessary public health measures,” Blumenthal and Matsui wrote to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
“[W]e urge you to extend the mandatory CSO framework, ensure it is strictly enforced, and, if needed, reevaluate whether the current guidance is the most appropriate to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks aboard cruises in light of the new variant.”