April 10 (UPI) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its order for cruise ships to stay docked or at sea, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The CDC announced late Thursday the extension of the "no sail" order, which was first issued on March 14, and said it could potentially last for another 100 days.
Cruise ships have been transmission centers for coronavirus pandemic, and the pattern has continued in recent weeks, U.S. health officials said. They cited at least 10 cruise liners on which crew or passengers have developed flu-like symptoms or tested positive.
Under the CDC extension, cruise ship operators are barred from starting new trips or allowing passengers and crew who are now at sea to to disembark at U.S. ports or stations unless allowed by authorities.
The CDC said there are about 100 cruise ships at sea off U.S. coasts with nearly 80,000 crew members on board. There are 20 ships at anchored at port that have known or suspected COVID-19 cases.
"We are working with the cruise line industry to address the health and safety of crew at sea as well as communities surrounding U.S. cruise ship points of entry," CDC Director Robert Redfield said.
He said the "no sail" order will remain in effect until he rescinds it, the emergency is declared over or 100 days pass.
There are only a few cruise ships with passengers still at sea after the industry voluntary ceased most of its operations last month. One is Princess Cruises' Pacific Princess, known as the "Love Boat," which has 115 passengers.
The ship, scheduled to stop briefly in Hawaii Monday en route to Los Angeles, doesn't have any cases. Four Hawaii residents will be allowed to leave but the rest are barred from disembarking.