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Two Democrats urge CDC to reimpose 'no-sail' order after outbreak on Caribbean cruise

Two Democrats urge CDC to reimpose 'no-sail' order after outbreak on Caribbean cruise
© New York Times/Pool

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Doris MatsuiDoris Okada MatsuiCyberattack forces shutdown of Baltimore County schools for the day Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg and Dorsey return for another hearing | House passes 5G funding bill | Twitter introduces 'fleets' House approves legislation providing 0 million to boost US 5G efforts MORE (D-Calif.) urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday to reinstate the “no-sail” order on cruise ships amid an outbreak on the first cruise to debark in months. 

At least five passengers aboard the ship tested positive on SeaDream 1, which left Barbados on Saturday and had traveled to Saint Vincent, Canouan Island and Tobago Cays. 

According to Gene Sloan, a reporter who was on the ship, all passengers had to test negative several days before boarding and again on the day of boarding. Another round of testing was conducted Wednesday when the passengers tested positive.

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In a letter to CDC Director Robert Redfield, the Democratic lawmakers said the development is “not surprising” and “reaffirms the need to exercise extreme caution before sending passengers and crew back out to sea on cruises.”

The CDC first barred cruise sailing in mid-March and renewed the order in April and July. It lifted the order in October to allow “simulation cruises” to sail in the U.S. and introduced a phased approach for resuming cruises. 

The lawmakers also noted reports that the White House reportedly blocked the CDC's plan to extend the no-sail order through February 2021. 

“[I]t is unconscionable for the CDC to move forward on a plan to resume operations given the ongoing risks,” the lawmakers wrote. “While we appreciate the difficult economic situation cruise line operators face and the desire of many cruising enthusiasts to restore a sense of normalcy, the CDC must always put health and safety first to prevent further spread of this deadly virus and save lives.” 

The Hill has reached out to the CDC for comment. 

Cruise ships proved to be dangerous for the spread of the virus after an outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in February. Several ships docked outside U.S. waters faced similar incidents before cases began to escalate in the U.S.