Updated Feb 16, 2022 - Health

CDC lowers pandemic travel warning for cruise ships

A cruise ship waits for people to embark before leaving PortMiami on December 31, 2021 in Miami, Florida.

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lowered its pandemic travel health alert for cruise ships from "very high" to "high" on Tuesday.

Driving the news: CDC spokesperson Caitlin Shockey said in a statement that the agency lowered the travel health notice to Level 3 due to decreasing COVID-19 cases on cruise ships operating in the U.S., per the Washington Post.

  • The CDC suggests that travelers ensure they're "up to date" with their coronavirus vaccine inoculations before embarking on cruises.
  • "If you are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, avoid cruise ship travel even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines," the CDC advises in the guidance.

Flashback: The CDC last December raised its travel health notice to the highest level under the four-level system, advising people to "avoid cruise ships, regardless of vaccination status" due to an increased threat of COVID-19, driven by the Omicron variant.

By the numbers: Cruise ships reported 14,803 COVID-19 cases from Dec. 30 to Jan. 12, WashPost notes.

What they're saying: The Cruise Lines International Association in a statement called the level adjustment "a step in the right direction."

  • "Cruise ships have medical, isolation and quarantine facilities on site, implement extensive response plans using private shoreside resources, and have created an environment where almost every single person is fully vaccinated," the trade association added.

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