White House considers cruise ship shutdown amid coronavirus crisis

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Officials will decide on next steps after reviewing a cruise-ship industry proposal on Tuesday.

The White House is awaiting a cruise-ship industry proposal on preventing coronavirus before deciding whether to actively discourage Americans from boarding the vessels to prevent the further spread of the disease.

"We are expecting a proposal tomorrow," Vice President Mike Pence said at a press conference on Monday night, listing policies discussed with the industry, like adding screening, formalizing evacuation protocols and taking other steps to protect elderly Americans who are perceived to be at highest risk in the outbreak. "We made it very clear that we need cruise lines to be safer."

Earlier on Monday, POLITICO reported that HHS Secretary Alex Azar and other health officials have urged a broader crackdown on Americans' use of cruise ships, three people with knowledge of the conversations said.

The cruise ships have been a focal point in the outbreak, with more than 700 cases linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined off the coast of Japan for two weeks, and at least 21 more confirmed aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship that docked in Oakland, Calif., on Monday.

The State Department and CDC over the weekend warned elderly and medically fragile Americans to avoid cruise ships for the duration of the outbreak, with the CDC recommending that travelers “defer all cruise ship travel worldwide.”

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