(Reuters) -The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday extended the conditional sailing order for cruises to Jan. 15 next year from Nov. 1 on concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
The order, issued last October, mandated testing and some additional safeguards for crew members as part of a framework for a phased resumption of cruises.
The public health agency said the extension includes minor changes and when the order is lifted it will shift to a “voluntary program” and work alongside ship operators to control COVID-19 numbers aboard cruise ships.
The highly contagious variant had earlier this year led to a surge in infections and hospitalizations in the United States, but cases have started to decrease in recent weeks.
The CDC had in May initiated a key step for the eventual resumption of U.S. cruise industry operations by issuing new technical instructions.
(Reporting by Ruhi Soni and Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)