‘All people’ should avoid: CDC raises warning against cruise ship travel to highest level

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a Level 4 travel notice on Saturday advising that “all people” should avoid travel on cruise ships worldwide because “the risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high.” 

“Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships,” the organization said on its website.

The CDC added that for passengers who may be considered at increased risk, the warning is “especially” applicable.

“Passengers who decide to go on a cruise should get tested 3-5 days after your trip AND stay home for 7 days after travel,” the CDC said. “Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days.”

For passengers who don’t get tested, the CDC recommended staying home for 14 days.

The travel notice that originally warned against cruising was posted on March 17. On Oct. 8, the CDC instituted a Level 3 warning that recommended people “defer travel” on cruise ships worldwide.

On Oct. 30, the CDC issued a “conditional sailing order” that replaced its “no-sail” order and allowed a phased-in restart of cruising in U.S. waters. That order didn’t specify when passenger cruising could restart on vessels able to carry 250 or more people and required ships to meet certain standards and complete activities such as test cruises. 

‘Devastating impact’:Cruise industry says 254,000 American jobs, $32 billion in economic activity lost

“This ‘Framework of Conditional Sailing’ lays out a pathway – a phased, deliberate and intentional pathway – toward resuming passenger services but only when it is safe, when (the cruise industry) can assure health and when they are responsible with respects of needs of crew passengers and port communities,” Dr. Martin Cetron, director of the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, told USA TODAY.

Earlier this month, the cruise industry extended its voluntary operational pause through the end of the year. But in order to meet the CDC’s “conditional sailing order,” several cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line, have already opted to further extend their own sailing suspensions. Carnival has canceled all sailings in U.S. waters until February 2021, and Princess and Holland America have canceled sailings across the globe until April 2021. 

At the time the order was announced, Cetron wasn’t prepared to guess when passenger cruising will actually begin. 

“I’m smart enough after 10 months of this pandemic not to speculate like that,” he said. “It’s basically the virus’ numbers against human ingenuity.”

While it appears that cruising’s return isn’t imminent in U.S. waters, per the “conditional sailing order,” members of Congress have called for the CDC to reinstate its “no-sail” order. 

‘CDC is putting American lives at risk’:Members of Congress call for CDC to reinstate cruise ‘no-sail’ order

Leave a Reply