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Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas, berthed in Sydney Harbour. Photo: James D. Morgan/via Getty Images.

Royal Caribbean International will postpone its first scheduled trip from the United States in more than a year following eight new positive COVID-19 cases among crew members, CEO Michael Bayley announced.

Why it matters: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a No Sail Order in March 2020 amid the spread of the coronavirus. "The debut of the Odyssey of the Seas was highly anticipated as cruise lines attempt a comeback after more than 15 months of not sailing from the U.S. because of the pandemic," AP writes.

The big picture: Royal Caribbean was set to return to sea with its new megaship, Odyssey of the Seas.

  • The megaship was expected to sail from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on July 3, but has now been postponed to at least July 31.
  • The company is also rescheduling a simulated cruise to practice the CDC's safety measures with a group of volunteer cruisers scheduled for late June.

Between the lines: The 1,400 crew members aboard the megaship were vaccinated on June 4, according to Bayley, but the two-week period hadn't passed since the second shot. Royal Caribbean has quarantined all crew members for 14 days and will continue requiring COVID-19 testing.

What they're saying: The call was made "out of an abundance of caution," Bayley said.

  • “While disappointing, this is the right decision for the health and well-being of our crew and guests,” the CEO added.

Zoom out: Celebrity Edge, part of the Royal Caribbean Group, is expected to become the first post-pandemic ship to sail from the U.S. with ticketed passengers on June 26.

  • Celebrity Edge can sail without a simulated run because it followed CDC guidelines permitting ships with 98% vaccinated crew and 95% vaccinated guests to avoid that step, a Celebrity Cruises’ spokesperson told the AP.

Go deeper

Sep 23, 2021 - World

Bolsonaro isolating after health minister tests positive for COVID at UN summit

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Timothy A. Clary-Pool/Getty Images

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro and members of his delegation that were in New York for the UN General Assembly were put in isolation after the country's health minister tested positive for coronavirus, according to the state health regulator.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro, who tested positive for COVID-19 back in July and has regularly railed against pandemic measures, has not been vaccinated against the virus.

Sep 23, 2021 - Health

CDC director approves Pfizer boosters, adds eligibility for high-risk workers

Photo: Marco Bello/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A key panel at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shots for people 65 years old and older, as well as those at high risk of severe COVID-19.

Driving the news: But in an unusual move, CDC director Rochelle Walensky late Thursday overruled part of the advisory committee's decision and said that workers in high-risk jobs should also be eligible for booster shots.

Sep 24, 2021 - Health

Moderna CEO: Pandemic could be over in a year

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel. Photo: Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel told the Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung on Thursday he thinks the COVID-19 pandemic could be over in a year due to increases in vaccine production, per Reuters.

What he's saying: "If you look at the industry-wide expansion of production capacities over the past six months, enough doses should be available by the middle of next year so that everyone on this Earth can be vaccinated," Bancel said.