Canada’s cruise ship instructional reference tool

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Objective

For a successful start of the cruise ship season in Canada, cruise ship operators must ensure that appropriate public health measures are put in place and followed to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on board vessels and during port visits. Cruise ship operators are required to develop and implement a COVID-19 management plan pursuant to the Transport Canada Ship Safety Bulletin 18/2021 incorporated by reference in Interim Order Respecting Cruise Ship Restrictions and Vaccination Requirements Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (Interim Order).

This Instructional Reference Tool is a reference list of publicly available guidance to use when developing the COVID-19 Management Plan. It has been developed as part of a comprehensive approach to COVID-19 outbreak prevention on board large cruise ships on international voyages that includes the requirement for all passengers and crew to be fully vaccinated. This requirement is pursuant to Transport Canada's Interim Order under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. This tool provides general public health guidance relevant to the Canadian context. Some of the guidance provided may require adaption by cruise ship operators for their specific COVID-19 management plans. The COVID-19 management plan should implement a layered approach by using a combination of measures to minimize the risks of and to reduce the spread of COVID-19

Cruise ship operators are responsible for continuously monitoring scientific evidence, evolving public health recommendations and regulatory requirements to inform and improve their plan on an ongoing basis. Cruise ship operators should continuously monitor the pandemic worldwide and adjust their plan and its cruise itineraries to the changing circumstances, as required.

Topic

Considerations

Related Resources

1. General COVID-19 Management Plan Guidance

1.1 General requirements of the COVID Management Plan

Reducing COVID-19 risk in community settings: A tool for operators (canada.ca)

COVID-19: Provincial and territorial resources - Canada.ca

1.2 Resources, equipment and personnel

  • Where applicable, the Plan should identify Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and any other supplies necessary to facilitate the implementation of the Plan and respond to a COVID-19 outbreak, and have procedures in place to maintain a continuous supply during the cruise.

Personal protective equipment (COVID-19): Overview - Canada.ca

Hard-surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers (COVID-19) - Canada.ca

COVID-19 medical masks and respirators: Overview - Canada.ca

Coronavirus disease (COVID- 19): Prevention and risks - Canada.ca

COVID-19: Social media and promotional resources for Health Canada and Public Health Agency of Canada

1.3 Staff education and training

  • Where applicable, the Plan should include details of crew training on knowledge and understanding of the PHMs.

COVID-19 mask use: Advice for community settings

Coronavirus disease (COVID- 19): Prevention and risks - Canada.ca

Public health measures: video, factsheets and infographics (multilingual products available)

2. Pre-Boarding Measures to Prevent Transmission of COVID-19

2.1 Vaccination

  • The Plan should outline how the Company will ensure that all crew members and travellers will be assessed to confirm that they have completed an appropriate COVID-19 immunization series at least 14 days prior to embarking.
  • The Plan should include a mechanism for demonstrating that the vaccination status of all passengers and crew has been verified, and procedures to make them available to officials upon request.
  • The Plan should integrate the requirements of the current Orders in Council under the Quarantine Act in place at the time the vessel enters Canada.
  • The Plan should include procedures for the Company to inform passengers of the Government of Canada’s current vaccination requirements for entry into Canada.

Vaccines for COVID-19 - Canada.ca

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Prevention and risks - Canada.ca

COVID-19 Travel: Checklists for requirements and exemptions

COVID-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada (Children or dependents)

2.2 Pre-boarding testing and screening

  • The Plan should include procedures to inform passengers about the Company’s COVID-19 policies upon booking, and require them to have an understanding of the COVID-19 protocols prior to boarding the ship.
  • The Plan should include procedures for the Company to inform passengers of the Government of Canada’s current requirements for entry into Canada, including the requirement to use the ArriveCAN mobile app or website to submit mandatory travel information before and after entry into Canada.
  • The Plan should include procedures for the Company to screen and assess any individuals boarding the cruise ship for COVID-19 at any time throughout the voyage.
  • The Plan should include procedures for screening and verifying COVID-19 test results of passengers and crew at the beginning of the voyage as per the requirements of Transport Canada’s Interim Order.
  • The Plan should include procedures to identify and adapt to any changes to Canada’s border requirements.
  • The Plan should include procedures to deny boarding at the beginning of the voyage to passengers and crew who have symptoms of COVID-19, reasonable grounds to suspect they have COVID-19 or who have a positive test result within the past 10 days or contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 14 days. Individuals who present with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 who have a valid alternate medical reason explaining symptoms should be closely monitored by the medical team based on Public health management of cases and contacts associated with COVID-19 - Canada.ca or specific guidance from the province or territory.

Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Quarantine, Isolation and Other Obligations)

Use ArriveCAN to enter Canada

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Symptoms and treatment - Canada.ca

COVID-19 testing, screening and contact tracing - Canada.ca

COVID-19: Travel, testing and borders - Travel.gc.ca

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update - Canada.ca

Updated: Public health contacts associated with COVID-19 - Canada.ca

2.3 Pre-boarding education for passengers and crew

  • The Plan should include procedures to provide information to passengers and crew about the symptoms of COVID-19 and its associated health risks including who is at most risk of more severe disease, outcomes from COVID-19, and the risks of traveling aboard a cruise ship.
  • The Plan should include procedures to provide passengers and crew with information about individual public health measures including,
  • The Plan should include procedures to provide information to passengers and crew regarding how to conduct a personal risk assessment to determine their estimated risk level.
  • The Plan should include protocols for managing passengers and crew who are non-compliant with ship COVID-19 protocols, which are communicated clearly to everyone on board.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Prevention and risks - Canada.ca

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Symptoms and treatment - Canada.ca

Individual and community - based measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Canada - Canada.ca

Vulnerable populations and COVID-19

My COVID-19 Visit Risk Decision Aid (2021 - 2022) (covidvisitrisk.com)

3. Measures to Prevent and Limit Transmission of COVID-19 Onboard

3.1 Onboard screening

  • The Plan should include a regular SARS-CoV-2 testing program for the crew, testing for crew and passengers with signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and mechanisms to ensure passengers and crew are aware of signs, symptoms and exposure of COVID-19 for self- assessments.

COVID-19 testing, screening and contact tracing - Canada.ca

National polymerase chain indication guidance for COVID-19 - Canada.ca

Interim guidance on the use of for the identification of SARS-CoV-2 infection - Canada.ca

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Symptoms and treatment - Canada.ca

3.2 Mask use

  • The Plan should include details of mask requirements for crew and passengers, including recommendations for their use while in public settings.
  • The Plan should include procedures to make masks easily accessible and available to passengers and crew.
  • The Plan should include the development and provision of health promotion resources and education about the importance of wearing a mask, including how to choose, use and care for a mask, how to put on, remove and clean a mask.
  • The Plan should include procedures to notify passengers and crew about local regulations on mask usage at port locations.

COVID-19 mask use: How to choose, use and care for a mask - Canada.ca

COVID-19 mask use: How to put on, remove and clean a mask - Canada.ca

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Prevention and risks - Canada.ca

3.3 Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems (HVAC)

  • The Plan should include procedures to confirm that the HVAC system is functioning effectively, and is appropriate for the type, setting activity, number of occupants and length of time the space will be occupied.
  • The Plan should include steps to maintain and improve indoor ventilation to reduce levels of infectious particles.
  • The Plan should include procedures for routine assessment and maintenance of the HVAC system.
  • The Plan should include procedures for educating passengers and crew about improving ventilation.
  • The Plan should include a consideration of using portable air filtration devices with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) as an additional protection in situations where enhancing natural or mechanical ventilation is not possible and when physical distancing cannot be achieved.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Prevention and risks -Canada.ca

COVID-19: Improving indoor ventilation - Canada.ca

COVID-19: Guidance on indoor ventilation during the pandemic - Canada.ca

3.4 Physical distancing and cohorting

  • The Plan should include the maximum number of passengers and crew that can be carried on board to allow the safe and effective implementation of PHMs including physical distancing and cohorting.
  • The Plan should include procedures to encourage individuals to keep the greatest distance possible when interacting with those outside of their immediate travelling party, and using a layered approach with multiple measures.
  • The Plan should include a recognition of areas where physical distancing could be more difficult to implement. For these areas, the Plan should establish, where appropriate, tailor-made or alternative measures.
  • The Plan should consider creating cohorts of passengers and crew to ease case and contact management processes and limit the amount of people required to quarantine in the case of an outbreak.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Prevention and risks -Canada.ca

Individual and community- based measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Canada - Canada.ca

COVID-19 mask use: Advice for community settings - Canada.ca

Physical distancing: keep 2 metres apart video

3.5 Cruise Ship Activities

  • The Plan should include specific public health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The identification of different strategies should be based on a risk assessment for dining rooms, entertainment venues, recreational facilities and other places that passengers and crew congregate to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
  • The Plan should consider the use of cohorts for cruise ship activities to manage and reduce communicable disease transmission on board the ship.

Reducing COVID-19 risk in community settings: A tool for operators (canada.ca)

Restaurant and Food Services

Indoor Pools

Personal Services (Salons, spas, hairdressers, barbers, etc.)

Retail Daycares

Amusement, Theme, and Water Parks

Gyms and Fitness Clubs Casinos

3.6 Hygiene

measures

  • The Plan should include policies to ensure the availability of health promotion material (e.g. posters, videos, etc.) throughout the ship that promotes the importance of and procedures for hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
  • The Plan should include procedures to ensure that supplies are readily available to enable proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette by passengers and crew.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Prevention and risks -Canada.ca

Hand washing and staying healthy - Canada.ca

3.7 Cleaning and disinfection

  • The Plan should include a schedule of routine cleaning and disinfection practices and the appropriate products and techniques to be used.

COVID-19: Cleaning and disinfecting - Canada.ca

Hard-surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers (COVID-19): List of disinfectants with evidence for use against COVID-19 - Canada.ca

4. Measures to Prevent Transmission of COVID-19 during Shore Excursion and/or Port Visits

4.1 Port visits, shore based activities and excursions

  • The Plan should be shared with local public health authorities and port authorities in each port of call prior to the commencement of cruising so that awareness of the Plan and knowledge of its contents is widely understood.
  • The Plan should include mechanisms in place to inform all persons leaving the vessel to visit a port of the recommendations and restrictions of the local public health authority at that destination as well as the current COVID-19 situation.
  • The Plan should include procedures to log passenger and crew activities in port to facilitate the case and contact management whenever possible.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Prevention and risks - Canada.ca

My COVID-19 Visit Risk Calculator (2021 - 2022) (covidvisitrisk.com)

COVID-19: Provincial and territorial resources - Canada.ca

COVID-19 Self-Assessment Questionnaire

Updated: Public health management of cases and contacts associated with COVID-19 - Canada.ca

4.2 Regulatory Requirements

  • The Plan should detail how the operator will meet the reporting and any other applicable requirements of the Quarantine Act, the current Orders in Council and the current Transport Canada Interim Order and Ship Safety Bulletin.

* Reporting of illnesses on board a cruise ship upon entry into Canada should be made with the Maritime Declaration of Health via the online portal. Instructions and links can be found in Transport Canada’s Ship Safety Bulletin No. 18/21. If required, PHAC’s Central Notification System (CNS) may be contacted directly at 1-833- 615-2384 and cns-snc@phac-aspc.ca

Use ArriveCAN to enter Canada

5. Preparedness and Response for Suspected/Confirmed Cases of COVID-19

5.1 Management of ill passengers and crew

  • The Plan should specify how suspected or confirmed cases will safely isolate in a suitable location that is well ventilated, including information on how to isolate, as well as precautions for co-living individuals.
  • The Plan should include recommended infection prevention and control precautions for individuals caring for a suspected or confirmed case to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
  • The Plan should include procedures for medical evacuation should it be required.

National case definition: Coronavirus disease (COVID- 19) - Canada.ca

Updated: Public health management of cases and contacts associated with COVID-19 - Canada.ca

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Prevention and risks -Canada.ca

Infection prevention and control for COVID-19: Interim guidance for acute healthcare settings

Ambulatory and outpatient care setting COVID-19 infection prevention and control: Interim guidance - Canada.ca

How to quarantine or isolate at home if you have or may have COVID-19 - Canada.ca

5.2 Management of contacts of COVID- 19 cases

  • The Plan should include measures to facilitate rapid identification of secondary cases of COVID-19, and implement public health measures as appropriate recognizing that transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can occur from cases who are symptomatic, pre-symptomatic, or asymptomatic.
  • The Plan should have a mechanism to classify contacts as either high or low risk, depending on their exposure or other risk factors, for the purposes of determining recommended actions.
  • The Plan should detail the role of medical professionals on board the vessel.

Updated: Public health management of cases and contacts associated with COVID-19 - Canada.ca

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Prevention and risks -Canada.ca

How to quarantine or isolate at home if you have or may have COVID-19 - Canada.ca

5.3 Outbreak preparedness and response

  • The Plan should include an Outbreak Management Plan for the prevention and control of possible cases of COVID-19 on board the ship, including procedures to respond to a potential COVID-19 outbreak and establish programs for drills and exercises to prepare for such an outbreak.
  • The Plan should include a means to identify and inform passengers of possible exposure to facilitate case management and contact tracing, and this information should be available for outbreak response and epidemiological analysis.

Updated: Public health management of cases and contacts associated with COVID-19 - Canada.ca

COVID-19 testing, screening and contact tracing - Canada.ca

Personal protective equipment and medical supplies - Canada.ca

5.4 Repatriation of persons

  • The Plan should detail the procedures for repatriating ill passengers (and their dependants) and crew to their home communities, including any COVID-19 procedures related to air travel.
  • The Plan should include the isolation/quarantine requirements of the current Orders in Council under the Quarantine Act, as referenced in Ship Safety Bulletin No. 18/21, and Transport Canada’s Interim Order in place at the time the vessel enters Canada.

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