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White House blocks CDC on Florida cruise ship ban amid election concerns

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The White House reportedly overruled the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over a ban on passenger cruises in Florida, in an apparent attempt at appealing to voters in the swing state.



a large ship in a body of water


© Provided by The Independent


Florida, where Mr Trump and his Democratic opponent Joe Biden have been almost tied in recent polls, typically brings-in billions in income.

But CDC orders, originally introduced in April at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, had banned cruise passenger ships with a “no sail” order, in an attempt to control Covid-19’s spread.

That order was due to expire on Wednesday, which could have seen Florida’s cruise industry restart after a five month absence without an extension.  

Making

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White House blocked February extension of CDC ‘no sail’ cruise ship order: reports

The White House blocked a February extension of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “no sail” order for cruise ships, The New York Times and Axios reported.

CDC Director Robert Redfield reportedly recommended an extension of the current order, which is set to expire on Wednesday, during a coronavirus task force meeting on Tuesday. 

But a senior health official told the Times and sources told Axios that Redfield was ultimately overruled as the administration plans to extend the order until Oct. 31 and then allow ships to sail. 

Public health officials have reportedly said the rejection of Redfield’s recommendation is politically motivated to avoid upsetting the cruise industry in Florida, a swing state ahead of the presidential election that a number of polls show is a neck-and-neck race between Trump and Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip

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White House Blocked C.D.C. Order to Keep Cruise Ships Docked

Dr. Stephen Ostroff, a former acting commissioner of the F.D.A., who serves on the Healthy Sail group, said they have recommended that cruise passengers be tested before arriving at the ship, and then again before boarding.

“The one thing that you want to make sure of is that the virus doesn’t get on there in the first place,” Dr. Ostroff said.

Dr. Ostroff acknowledged that passengers who are exposed to the virus en route to the ship would not necessarily test negative, but could be infectious. He also said that the group’s other recommendations, such as allowing fewer passengers, enforcing mask wearing and installing improved air filtration systems, aim to limit the spread of the virus on a ship should an infected passenger board.

Brian Morgenstern, the White House deputy press secretary, denied that the administration’s cruise ship plans were politically motivated. “The president, the vice president and the task

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