Updated at 2 p.m. ET

Carnival Cruise Line says it's making plans to resume sailing Aug. 1. Carnival and all cruise lines have been banned from sailing from U.S. ports since March when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a No Sail Order. The order was later extended to July 24 or when "the Secretary of Health and Human Services' declares that COVID-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency."

In its announcement, Carnival says it plans to begin with eight ships sailing from Texas (Galveston) and Florida (Miami and the Ft. Lauderdale area). The company says it will ramp up with more cruises from U.S. and Australian ports during August.

Carnival says it's "committed to supporting all public health efforts to manage the COVID-19 situation" and is consulting with "experts, government officials and stakeholders" in developing its plan to resume sailing.

In a statement, the CDC said, "We are closely monitoring the situation on cruise ships while we review the cruise lines' plans to prevent, detect, contain, and respond to COVID-19 during the No Sail period. At this point in time, we do not have enough information to say when it will be safe for cruise ships to resume sailing. CDC will continue to work with cruise lines to ensure all necessary public health procedures are in place when cruise lines do begin regular sailing."

Several ships owned by Carnival were hit by outbreaks of COVID-19 that left more than a dozen dead and hundreds of others sick. The company and its subsidiary lines are the subject of numerous lawsuits filed by passengers who were exposed to the coronavirus.

Last week, a congressional committee announced it was opening an investigation into Carnival's actions both in preparing for and responding to the pandemic.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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