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Spain extends ban on cruise ship arrivals “until the coronavirus pandemic is finally over” 

Spain has extended its ban on the arrival of cruise ships into its ports for what could be months or well into 2021.

The government has published an order which
extends the current ban “until the end of the coronavirus crisis” and
has not specified any sort of timescale because of the difficulty of knowing
when the threat will be over.

Spain says the decision is “a proportionate,
objective and non-discriminatory measure in line with the goal established by
the WHO Emergency Committee to interrupt the spread of the virus. “

“The entry into Spanish ports of
cruise-type passenger ships that make international voyages and navigate the
waters of the territorial sea in order to enter Spanish ports open to
international navigation is prohibited,” states the ministerial order
published today.

The government says the arrival of cruise
ships could present risks which could spoil the progress being made in
containing the coronavirus pandemic and new infections.

The order says: “At the present time, the
effects of the pandemic have been controlled by containment measures but the
situation is still an unprecedented public health challenge. In the case of
cruises, recreational passenger ships whose voyage lasts several days or weeks
and makes stops at various ports to allow tourism visits, if a case of COVID-19
occurs in one of these ships it could have a great impact on the health of the
population, since they are closed places where hundreds or thousands of people
of diverse characteristics, share spaces and activities in a very close way and
in which the probability of transmission of diseases is high. In this case, the
risk is not only linked to the origin of the passengers, who may come from risk
areas, but especially those intrinsic conditions of the habitability and
routines of the passengers on the ship.”

The measure will remain in force until the end
of the health crisis situation caused by COVID-19, according to Royal
Decree-Law 21/2020, of June 9, for the ‘new normality’ that includes preventive
measures, containment and coordination to face the health crisis.

The order says the director general of the
Merchant Marine may lift the prohibition at the request of State Ports and in
agreement with the Ministry of Health “for specific ship entrances or for
a set of them as part of an itinerary through one or more ports”. The
circumstances in which this may apply have not been specified.