Australia finally scraps COVID cruise ship protocols

   September 1, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

Following last week's announcement that Australian COVID protocols affecting the cruise industry would be lifted, New South Wales (NSW) promptly and officially ended them on Monday, August 28th, 2023. Other Australian states, including Victoria, Queensland, and Western Australia (WA), are expected to do the same.

In April 2022, the government introduced pandemic-related guidelines to support the struggling Australian cruise industry. These guidelines included mask-wearing, mandatory vaccination for cruise passengers aged 12 and older, and the requirement of negative COVID test results. As the nation's immunity to the virus improved, these measures became less necessary and more cumbersome for both cruise lines and passengers.

On Monday, NSW Premier Chris Minns formally eliminated the Eastern Seaboard and Western Australian Cruise Protocols, emphasizing the need to return to normalcy. In alignment with this decision, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), a division of the country's health department, removed cruise vaccination protocols and updated their health guidelines. Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly, noted that other Australian states are likely to follow suit.

The proposal to remove pandemic-related protocols received widespread support from passengers, cruise lines, and the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) when it was initially suggested last week.