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Cause for cautious optimism?


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All Returning travelers in Germany  (cruise or other form of travel) have to report to the health authorities and have the obligation of doing a COVID test within 48 hours of returning from a so called Risky Country (which are more or less all countries ). If the country is considered a high risk country, the test has to be done within 48 hours BEFORE returning to Germany.

Besides this, all travelers have the obligation to stay in quarantine between 10 to 14 days after returning. This quarantine can be lifted five days later with another negative test.

None of the other returning passengers of the cruise with the 4 infected, tested positive according to the monitoring done to them.

Ivi

Edited by travelberlin
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I'm fully onboard that cruising in the US market is in no place to restart anytime soon, but to the point of some of Ivi's excellent references, there is some milestone in the future where the paralysis-by-analysis of theoretical threats will have to end and the educated, studied trial-and-error of these new procedures will have to begin for US-based lines. 

 

To that end, I salute what's going on in Germany and other countries that have lower infection rates and a more suitable climate to have started these trials since they're able to have other containment measures in place that we've lost in the US. 

 

In regions of the world where we can do it, we need to start collecting REAL WORLD data on which of these precautions work and where these plans fail or have gaps.  I've had to help clients write new safety procedures for big citywide events to address emerging threats (of all types) in my career, and even on the most dangerous ones there is a point where you have to deploy and monitor how they're working -- you can't just keep canceling things forever because everything isn't perfectly safe.  

 

Again, I know we're nowhere near being able to do trial sailings like that here, I'm speaking as an industry overall.  It's also not like these initial passengers are unwitting guinea pigs; all of these cruise lines are being transparent about the procedures and the passengers have to landed from another planet this afternoon to not understand the risk of COVID and cruising given the countries they're drawing from.

 

Vince

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5 hours ago, BWIVince said:

I'm fully onboard that cruising in the US market is in no place to restart anytime soon, but to the point of some of Ivi's excellent references, there is some milestone in the future where the paralysis-by-analysis of theoretical threats will have to end and the educated, studied trial-and-error of these new procedures will have to begin for US-based lines. 

 

To that end, I salute what's going on in Germany and other countries that have lower infection rates and a more suitable climate to have started these trials since they're able to have other containment measures in place that we've lost in the US. 

 

In regions of the world where we can do it, we need to start collecting REAL WORLD data on which of these precautions work and where these plans fail or have gaps.  I've had to help clients write new safety procedures for big citywide events to address emerging threats (of all types) in my career, and even on the most dangerous ones there is a point where you have to deploy and monitor how they're working -- you can't just keep canceling things forever because everything isn't perfectly safe.  

 

Again, I know we're nowhere near being able to do trial sailings like that here, I'm speaking as an industry overall.  It's also not like these initial passengers are unwitting guinea pigs; all of these cruise lines are being transparent about the procedures and the passengers have to landed from another planet this afternoon to not understand the risk of COVID and cruising given the countries they're drawing from.

 

Vince

I agree very much with this Vince, specially with your point: “you can't just keep canceling things forever because everything isn't perfectly safe”. As long as we do our best to protect us and others following all security measures recommended by health authorities and by the government, life will have to go on. 
Cruise lines like MSC Cruises and TUI, which are sailing at the moment, are helping to regain confidence and to improve procedures. It is clear that despite all security measures, COVID can still happen. It is extremely important to have good contention measures in place. Thanks to the efforts of those cruise lines and their guests we are learning more.

Now, those cruise lines are sailing under special conditions. MSC with ONE ship in the Mediterranean (Italy and Malta) and TUI Cruises with TWO ships in the Canary Islands. All other itineraries have been cancelled. Nobody knows either how long the current sailings will be possible. Things are changing very rapidly. It could be that those sailings stop in the next weeks or months, because of changing conditions. But until then, their experience is helping to gain insight. If for some reason they cannot sail anymore, it would not be considered a failure.


For example in Germany we are under a shutdown for months now and we have tried to reduce the 7 days incidence of COVID to reach a number in which tracking is more manageable. Everything is closed (restaurants, theaters, gyms, hairdressers and cosmetic studios, all events, gyms and stores with exception of pharmacies and grocery stores.). Even schools and kindergarten. The goal was first to reach an incidence of 50 in order to lift restrictions. Than because of the mutations, the goal became an incidence of 35. BUT, the mutation first seen in UK is extremely contagious and unfortunately it is already in Germany. The health authorities mention that from all COVID cases, about 25 % now are cases of the British mutation. This had the implication that the goal of the Government of decreasing the 7 days incidence to under 50 cannot be achieved. This number has started to increase again. Now it is around 60, tendency going up.

Despite this, the schools and kindergarten have opened again on Monday. For how long? No one knows. I am confident that people taking decisions in this country are doing their best. Following their advice is the best we can do.

Ivi

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The USA Food & Drug Administration just gave the OK for the Johnson and Johnson Vaccine for Emergency Use and the Independent Committee will meet this Friday so it should be approved on Friday for use in the USA.

 

This is a single dose vaccine.

 

Keith

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2 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

The USA Food & Drug Administration just gave the OK for the Johnson and Johnson Vaccine for Emergency Use and the Independent Committee will meet this Friday so it should be approved on Friday for use in the USA.

 

This is a single dose vaccine.

 

Keith

 

The operative word here is "Emergency Use", bear in mind that none of these vaccines is actually "approved" by the FDA and are still considered "experimental"! Note that on the consent forms they claim the vaccines "MAY" protect you. This is probably the largest and most widespread "test" ever.

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5 minutes ago, suzeluvscruz said:

 

The operative word here is "Emergency Use", bear in mind that none of these vaccines is actually "approved" by the FDA and are still considered "experimental"! Note that on the consent forms they claim the vaccines "MAY" protect you. This is probably the largest and most widespread "test" ever.

That's correct because it normally takes several years of research, trials and approval.

 

And yes the test will include how long does it last although we'll likely need a booster for the variances. 

 

Hopefully, we will get a high percentage of the world population to get the vaccine. 

 

Keith

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40 minutes ago, suzeluvscruz said:

 

The operative word here is "Emergency Use", bear in mind that none of these vaccines is actually "approved" by the FDA and are still considered "experimental"! Note that on the consent forms they claim the vaccines "MAY" protect you. This is probably the largest and most widespread "test" ever.

I'm not sure if it is entirely correct to say these vaccines that was given emergency use authorization are "experimental."  It is true that they did not go through the process required for standard full FDA approval, but the clinical studies that were performed on each of these vaccines are still indicative of their efficacy at the highest level of evidence, which is randomized phase 3 clinical study.  Also, the opposite is true also:  Just because something is FDA approved mean it is completely effective and completely safe.  The whole issue gets even more confusing to the ordinary consumers because the websites for these companies really like us to know that these vaccines are "NOT APPROVED by FDA," presumably to minimize the risk of personal injury-type litigations.  It is completely inaccurate, however, to say that EUA drugs do not have to show efficacy or safety.  This is a common misconception spread by various groups around the country, and it is very disturbing.  I encourage people to read the EUA decision letters for each of the vaccines to really understand what was required of the vaccines to be authorized for EUA.

 

If these vaccines were meant to be strictly "experimental" there is another, much less rigorously obtained designation from FDA that can be obtained called "investigational new drug (IND)," which I am sure these companies already obtained before their phase I studies began. 

 

Also, one more caveat:  Just because a vaccine is fully approved by FDA, that does not mean its length of effectiveness is well studied and documented.  For example, the new Shingrix vaccine for shingles, which was approved a few years ago to be used just course (two shots), does not yet have any published data that shows its efficacy beyond 4 years, as far as I can find.  But this vaccine is fully "approved" by FDA.

 

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14 hours ago, travelberlin said:

I agree very much with this Vince, specially with your point: “you can't just keep canceling things forever because everything isn't perfectly safe”. As long as we do our best to protect us and others following all security measures recommended by health authorities and by the government, life will have to go on. 
Cruise lines like MSC Cruises and TUI, which are sailing at the moment, are helping to regain confidence and to improve procedures. It is clear that despite all security measures, COVID can still happen. It is extremely important to have good contention measures in place. Thanks to the efforts of those cruise lines and their guests we are learning more.

Now, those cruise lines are sailing under special conditions. MSC with ONE ship in the Mediterranean (Italy and Malta) and TUI Cruises with TWO ships in the Canary Islands. All other itineraries have been cancelled. Nobody knows either how long the current sailings will be possible. Things are changing very rapidly. It could be that those sailings stop in the next weeks or months, because of changing conditions. But until then, their experience is helping to gain insight. If for some reason they cannot sail anymore, it would not be considered a failure.


For example in Germany we are under a shutdown for months now and we have tried to reduce the 7 days incidence of COVID to reach a number in which tracking is more manageable. Everything is closed (restaurants, theaters, gyms, hairdressers and cosmetic studios, all events, gyms and stores with exception of pharmacies and grocery stores.). Even schools and kindergarten. The goal was first to reach an incidence of 50 in order to lift restrictions. Than because of the mutations, the goal became an incidence of 35. BUT, the mutation first seen in UK is extremely contagious and unfortunately it is already in Germany. The health authorities mention that from all COVID cases, about 25 % now are cases of the British mutation. This had the implication that the goal of the Government of decreasing the 7 days incidence to under 50 cannot be achieved. This number has started to increase again. Now it is around 60, tendency going up.

Despite this, the schools and kindergarten have opened again on Monday. For how long? No one knows. I am confident that people taking decisions in this country are doing their best. Following their advice is the best we can do.

Ivi

This is all good for cruise lines who caters to countries like Germany, especially if the company can afford to restrict their customer base to those screened by (and will be screened post-cruise by) the responsible government agency/infrastructure.  I think it would be a real challenge to implement something like this by other cruise lines, especially if they want to deal with US-based customers.  I think that's really the biggest problem, especially in the US, where there is not a well-thought out outbreak containment/recovery plan or an actually functional public health infrastructure to implement any future plans at this time.  Hopefully things will change since this change is really needed here.

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Don't know if previously posted on CC but I've just read this good news:  

https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/germany-explores-rescue-for-genting-s-shipyards

 

Pertinent quote from it:

 

'Work on a smaller, expedition cruise ship the Crystal Endeavour however is nearly done. The minister said they believed that this ship was 95 percent completed and would be delivered shortly, while Crystal Cruises announced they were delaying the introduction through August 2021 for the Crystal Endeavor.'

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7 hours ago, mskatiemae said:

Don't know if previously posted on CC but I've just read this good news:  

https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/germany-explores-rescue-for-genting-s-shipyards

 

Pertinent quote from it:

 

'Work on a smaller, expedition cruise ship the Crystal Endeavour however is nearly done. The minister said they believed that this ship was 95 percent completed and would be delivered shortly, while Crystal Cruises announced they were delaying the introduction through August 2021 for the Crystal Endeavor.'


There was a good discussion of this running in the Bankruptcy thread, and I think a couple of the Endeavor threads.  The latest doesn’t seem to be bad news to Werften overall since they would just be scaling operations to demand, but lack of business industry-wide for Lloyd Werft — which is the unit least dependent on Genting — could be catastrophic.

 

Vince

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Over the last two days Dr.Fauci has mentioned that the CDC will likely be issuing new guidelines for interacting with those who have gotten the vaccine.  I believe it will be less fact based since they don't have the history but based on sound logic.

 

Keith

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7 hours ago, mskatiemae said:

This study makes sense, saying that travel restrictions are NOT important to reducing virus spread AFTER the early stage of the pandemic, rather it is local restrictions on individual behaviors.  

 

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/02/210225082454.htm

 

Although this research might be suitable for Italy, I question whether it is generally applicable. 

It’s unclear how the researchers determined that travel restrictions are only important during an “early stage of the pandemic”.  Travel restrictions help prevent penetration of the virus into local environments attempting to sustain a low incidence and avoid new variants. 

Travel restrictions are being successfully implemented in Australia and New Zealand.  Does that mean they are still at an “early stage”?

Edited by Jim9310
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1 hour ago, Jim9310 said:

Travel restrictions are being successfully implemented in Australia and New Zealand.  Does that mean they are still at an “early stage”?

Yes, I would say that Australia and New Zealand are still at an early stage.  Their successful containment means that the vulnerability of their population remains about the same as ours was a year ago.  If the virus were to get loose there before they get a large percentage of their population vaccinated, their statistics could look like ours, but a year later. 

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12 minutes ago, SusieQft said:

Yes, I would say that Australia and New Zealand are still at an early stage.  Their successful containment means that the vulnerability of their population remains about the same as ours was a year ago.  If the virus were to get loose there before they get a large percentage of their population vaccinated, their statistics could look like ours, but a year later. 


Not sure I’d agree with that hypothesis 

 

Nevertheless were not expecting to change the things that have kept Australia relatively unscathed over the last year (900 or so deaths with 800 or so if those in one State who failed their citizens miserably in implementing containment strategies for travellers returning from overseas) - so why would the virus “get loose” at this point? 

 

Australia’s strategies for dealing with this pandemic could not have been more different than those (were there any?) chosen by the US and UK 

 

On a positive front vaccinations started this week and all those who want to be vaccinated are expected to have recieved their vaccinations by October 2021 

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30 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:

On a positive front vaccinations started this week and all those who want to be vaccinated are expected to have recieved their vaccinations by October 2021 

That is very good to hear.  Hopefully that will mean that Australia will be able to open up for your next summer season, at least to those who have also been vaccinated.

 

My point was that your lockdown and other measures have worked, but you can't let up on them until you have enough people vaccinated.  Hopefully enough will "want to be" that you can reach herd immunity without the rampant disease that other countries have suffered. 

 

This virus excels at getting loose and spreading widely, given the slightest opportunity.  Australia has been very successful at denying it the opportunity.  The US has not, and has had known cases in about 8.8% of the population.  Most likely there are at least that many unknown cases.  I am certainly not bragging about those numbers, but they do mean that around 15% of our population should be immune, not including those vaccinated.  That is not the case in Australia.  You have the opportunity to achieve a much higher immunity rate with vaccination, though.

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1 hour ago, SusieQft said:

That is very good to hear.  Hopefully that will mean that Australia will be able to open up for your next summer season, at least to those who have also been vaccinated.


The $64,000 question is when? and with what requirements (I certainly hope that it requires anyone entering Australia to be vaccinated) 

These are just my opinions....

 

I’m certainly hoping Australia is open by the time Serenity gets here in our late summer - Feb 2022 - I have skin in that game! 

 

On the other hand I don’t have a lot of confidence that Symphony will be cruising in Australia from early summer - December 2021 - but there’s a chance 

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Of course we hoped that once we oldies were vaccinated every country would roll out the red carpet for us. But I’m not seeing that happening. Crystal and other lines can promote fascinating itineraries, publish safety protocols and book (no money now) reservations til the cows come home. But as of yet, there are no guidelines on when or how this will happen from the many countries who would need to allow foreign visitors in. 
 

I’m watching closely because there are places with family I’m desperate to visit, via a cruise or any other transport. So far, nothing.

 

Many cruise lines are experimenting in restricted local markets, which we’ve discussed in other threads. Many here would be happy to get on a ship and go nowhere.  In my mind, the big cruise unknown is opening up other countries. I suspect that will start with required excursion “bubbles” which may not be palatable to some. What percent of the world population will need to be vaccinated before cruises to foreign ports can begin?

Edited by Cruise-y
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Just wanted to add that even now the USA is dong crazy things such as the Governor of Texas alluding that he might lift the mandate to wear masks.  Really?  Now?  We are at a crucial point where we are still a few months away from lots of vaccine arriving and we have these variances.  So, we'd had the mandate and what is another few months to try to minimize the spread of this.  We just don't get it.

 

Another major difference between us an Australia and New Zealand is they took a national approach and in the case of Australia if pockets developed then they put in place additional actions and safeguards in those specific places.

 

We made a terrible mistake.  As Dr. Fauci says while the rights of states are so vitally important to our constitution and the way we govern when you are fighting a virus which spreads person to person, town to town, city to city and state to state and the science is very clear on what you have to do in its entirety we would have been much better implementing one policy across all states and then as countries like Australia did make adjustments based on any local issues both the good and the not so good.

 

I have been so impressed with the two countries in how they handled the pandemic.  At the same time since our first visit to each country I always said if we had to leave the USA these would be our two top countries to move to followed by Canada.

 

Keith

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2 hours ago, Cruise-y said:

Of course we hoped that once we oldies were vaccinated every country would roll out the red carpet for us. But I’m not seeing that happening. Crystal and other lines can promote fascinating itineraries, publish safety protocols and book (no money now) reservations til the cows come home. But as of yet, there are no guidelines on when or how this will happen from the many countries who would need to allow foreign visitors in. 
 

I’m watching closely because there are places with family I’m desperate to visit, via a cruise or any other transport. So far, nothing.

 

Many cruise lines are experimenting in restricted local markets, which we’ve discussed in other threads. Many here would be happy to get on a ship and go nowhere.  In my mind, the big cruise unknown is opening up other countries. I suspect that will start with required excursion “bubbles” which may not be palatable to some. What percent of the world population will need to be vaccinated before cruises to foreign ports can begin?

Even within countries there is work to do to figure out what those who have been vaccinated can do and what they should not do.

 

Dr. Fauci says the CDC should have something out shortly.

 

It will not be based on much in the way of studies as we do not have a lot of data yet but it will be based on logic along with science.


This would include get together with those who have the vaccine and for that matter it could include what could be done if everyone in a particular group (not a family but just individuals) have had the vaccine.

 

With that said, when it comes to travel I know a lot of people who got the vaccine who now plan to travel now and we will wait for several reasons; one because the have asked that we not yet travel (they being scientists) and secondly I would like to understand a little more about the variants and how good each vaccine is against each one and if say one is 80% positive what the 20% means.  (eg., with 20% does it mean you could get the virus but without any symptoms and if not what might the symptoms be).

 

I am a believer in moving fast on many items but this is one where moving fast to get the vaccine out is great but wouldn't want to see us move too fast opening up travel etc and rolling out the red carpet until the scientists have solid recommendations in place?  I say this because the virus has surprised many since its inception and I would hate to see us after taking several steps forward take steps backward because we moved too fast.

 

I too would love to go on a cruise but my wife and I talked about this last night.  Say you go on that cruise, some crew members are not yet vaccinated, they come back not with COVID-19 as we know it but one of those variances and let's say our vaccine is not effective against that are not nearly as effective as to the regular COVID-19.  We would like to understand those implications before we would go. We would want the cruise line, and the cruise industry and the medical community including scientists to understand those implications.  Without the variances might not be so complicated as they have the data but would like this one understood and communicated.

 

Keith

Keith

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3 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

I always said if we had to leave the USA these would be our two top countries to move to followed by Canada.

I can't believe it - we don't even make Keith's short list! 

 

All that we have to offer, all that 'special relationship', all that rain - what's the matter with us, Keith!?

 

Hurt and mildly offended from the UK 😎☹️

 

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19 minutes ago, Noggins said:

I can't believe it - we don't even make Keith's short list! 

 

All that we have to offer, all that 'special relationship', all that rain - what's the matter with us, Keith!?

 

Hurt and mildly offended from the UK 😎☹️

 

Well done.  Oh I love the UK too.  My late sister-in-law lived in Scotland for many years.   

 

Now if you had more sun and were warmer, that would seal the deal.  LOL.  😀🤣

 

Keith

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23 hours ago, mskatiemae said:

This study makes sense, saying that travel restrictions are NOT important to reducing virus spread AFTER the early stage of the pandemic, rather it is local restrictions on individual behaviors.  

 

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/02/210225082454.htm

What studies like this do not address (and what the abbreviated press releases of the actual studies cannot address fully) is the fact that travel, especially international as well as domestic to a certain extent, enables two things that virus alone cannot do very well.  These are:

 

Introduce viruses (either brand new or mutants of already existing virus) to new regions very rapidly.  (most likely this coronavirus first entered US via air travel)   This really is what the investigators mean by "early" stages of the outbreak.  Obviously any particular geographical region cannot have an outbreak without at least one patient with the disease.

 

Intermix variants of the same virus and redistribute that mixture to various parts of the world, effectively making "regional strains" into something more widespread, and actually allowing the predominant strain to become predominant globally. (UK, South Africa, Brazil, and other mutants most likely have spread via transit, and most likely via air to far reaches of the world.)

 

Obviously, if there is no mechanism for effective local spread, the actual case numbers may not increase, and that's a good thing.  So these papers are encouraging people to work hard on community based, common-sense respiratory hygiene.  That does not mean international travel should be encouraged or that it does not contribute greatly to the outbreak.  I think people from the travel/leisure industry really wants to use studies like this to justify premature resumption of travel, and that is a completely inaccurate and selfish interpretation of data.  But in the case where most of the non-scientific community is not reading the primary literature, it is really tempting for us to believe what we (and others) want to believe.

 

 

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19 minutes ago, mrlevin said:

Keith, I guess you are going to turn down the invitation to my mask burning party when our great Governor removes the mask mandate.  😂


Just out of curiosity, why on earth would you burn masks at a time when viral variants are (a) documented to be more transmissible than previous strains, (b) documented to be more severe in many cases, and (c) at least one strain is more effective against the existing antibodies that people may have from prior infection?
 

Wouldn’t now be the MOST important time to wear a mask, during this phase of a viral pandemic with airborne transmission?!

 

Vince

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