The CDC has extended its ‘no sail’ order for the cruise industry for a further 100 days, leaving 100 ships and 80,000 crew members stranded off the US coast.
At least 20 of these ships have known or suspected cases of coronavirus on-board, the agency said.
Cruise liners are coming under pressure to make repatriation plans for their sailors after a 50-year-old crew member on the Zaandam became the latest victim of coronavirus on a cruise ship on Wednesday.
The Coral Princess, pictured moored in Miami, has reported 13 cases of coronavirus
The Zaandam, moored in Port Everglades, Miami, lost a crew member to coronavirus on Wednesday. It has reported four deaths due to the virus so far
People pictured being taken off the Costa Favolosa, moored off Miami, which has reported 15 cases of coronavirus
This map from cruisemapper.com shows cruise ships moored around Florida and the coastline of California and Washington
Extending their order, CDC director Robert Redfield said: ‘The measures we are taking today to stop the spread of COVID-19 are necessary to protect Americans.
‘We will continue to provide critical public health guidance to the industry to limit the impacts of COVID-19 on its workforce throughout the remainder of this pandemic.’
Most passengers have already been evacuated and placed onto repatriation flights back to their home countries or within the US.
There are more than 35 cruise ships with 35,000 crew members floating off the coast of Florida alone, reports ABC News.
They include Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, which had two crew members evacuated due to medical issues last week, and Celebrity Infinity, which had one crew member evacuated who later died from ‘undetermined medical reasons’.
The Costa Favolosa pictured floating off the coast of Miami, Florida
The Grand Princess is pictured above moored off Oakland, California. Nearly 650 crew members on the ship have completed their 14-day quarantine
The Celebrity Infinity, pictured moored at Port Miami, has had one crew member evacuated. They later died due to ‘undetermined medical reasons’
The Oasis of the Seas, pictured in January this year, has had two crew members evacuated due to medical conditions since it came in to port
Wiwit Widarto, 50, from Indonesia, died in hospital after he was taken off the Zaandam cruise ship which is docked in Port Everglades, Miami.
A further 29 passengers still on board due to mild symptoms were finally allowed to travel home yesterday, a week after arriving in Florida. The Zaandam had reported 11 cases of coronavirus.
The Coral Princess and Costa Favolosa, which are both also moored off Miami, had recorded 12 and 15 cases respectively. Two passengers died on the ship and a third died later in hospital.
The ship said it has been working through diplomatic channels to allow members of its crew and a further 13 international guests to be repatriated.
The guests are to remain on the ship, as authorities will not allow them to use local hotels, for a self-imposed 14-day quarantine.
A dozen guests remain quarantined on the Coral Princess. Many former passengers left South Florida on five charter flights Thursday, the company said. One flight was domestic while the others were heading to South America and Europe.
Coastguards have been working to bring them essential supplies and treatment, but told ABC that companies must take ‘additional measures’ to ensure their crews are ‘reasonably self-sufficient’.
The Grand Princess has been moored off California following reported cases of coronavirus
The US is continuing to reel from the coronavirus outbreak hitting a death toll of 16,715 Thursday evening, a jump of nearly 2,000 fatalities of the deadly virus over the past 24 hours
Ships are also stranded off the coast of California, including the Grand Princess, which has moored near Oakland.
The ship reported three deaths due to the virus and 103 cases before it was allowed to stop off Oakland, California.
Cruise liner companies, led by industry giant Carnival Corporation according to Bloomberg, have turned to financial markets to raise billions to wait out the pandemic.
Carnival alone says it needs $1 billion in liquidity for each month its ships don’t said.
The US is at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak and has reported 16,715 deaths and more than 469,000 cases.