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As Australia extends ban, CLIA pleads for talks on domestic cruises

Joel Katz called for urgent talks with Australian governments to ‘break the cycle of inaction'
Australia’s governor general on Thursday extended the human biosecurity emergency period a further three months, impacting a range of matters including the entry of cruise ships.

The emergency, which has been in place since March 18, 2020, to protect Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic, will continue until December 17.

Unacceptable risk

This follows advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and the Commonwealth chief medical officer that the international COVID-19 situation continues to pose an unacceptable risk to public health.

The human biosecurity emergency declaration ensures that the federal government has the powers to take any necessary measures to prevent and control COVID-19.

Cruise restrictions

This extends four existing emergency determinations including mandatory pre-departure testing and mask wearing for international flights, restrictions on the entry of cruise vessels within Australian territory, restrictions on outbound international travel for Australians and restrictions on trade of retail outlets at international airports.

Thursday’s announcement said the federal government will continue to consult with the states and territories and the maritime industry on options for the staged resumption of cruising when the medical advice is that it is safe to do so.

The measures in place can be amended or repealed at any time.

CLIA decries government inaction on cruising

Cruise Lines International Association Australasia MD Joel Katz was quick to respond, saying that discussions are needed to finalise a pathway forward, initially for cruises carrying only Australians within Australia.

‘Our discussions with government agencies have gone nowhere and our letters to the most senior levels of government have gone unanswered,’ Katz said.

‘Other countries have not only created detailed plans to uphold safety on cruise ships in response to the pandemic, but have already resumed cruising in a responsible way.

‘CLIA has outlined its own four-phase pathway to cruising’s revival, so we need governments to break the cycle of inaction and discuss how to put plans in place now so that we’re ready as conditions improve and vaccination rates rise.’

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