The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US has issued a new directive to extend the ‘no sail order’ for all cruise ships in a bid to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The new directive comes at a time when there are nearly 100 cruise ships off the US coast with around 80,000 crew on-board. An additional 20 vessels are also docked at ports and anchorage in the country with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 cases.

Under the new directive, cruise ship operations are suspended for at least 100 days; or till the Covid-19 outbreak constitutes a public health emergency; or till CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific requirements.

Additionally, the order prevents cruise ship operators to disembark passengers without the consent from the US Coast Guard (USCG), and approval from the HHS/CDC personnel.

The cruise operators are also barred from embarking or re-embarking any crew member, without proper approvals.

CDC director Robert Redfield said: “We are working with the cruise line industry to address the health and safety of crew at sea as well as communities surrounding US cruise ship points of entry.

“The measures we are taking today to stop the spread of Covid-19 are necessary to protect Americans, and 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.”

Meanwhile, the number of Covid-19 cases in the US has crossed half a million. The death toll stood at 22,100.