CDC Lowers Travel Health Notice Threat Level for Cruising

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on its website that it has lowered its Travel Health Notice level for cruise ship travel—from the highest threat level of 4 to a bit lower level of 3. 

Why the move? The CDC said that it lowers a Travel Health Notice when the cumulative COVID-19 case count among crew members meets the threshold for a lower level and remains at that level for 14 consecutive days. For example, a Level 4 Travel Health Notice or “very high” threat level is based on cumulative COVID-19 crew case counts (from all ships) of more than 2,000. In turn, the Level 3 is based on case counts between 1,000 and 2,000 crew. In turn, a Level 2 is reached when there are 500 to 999 cases, while a Level 1 signifies fewer than 500 cases.

The CDC also said the total number of vaccinated crew on ships and vaccine effectiveness against the circulating variant will be considered when determining if the Travel Health Notice level can be lowered before 14 days.

CLIA Reaction 

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the global cruise industry's trade group, said in a press statement about the CDC change: “The decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lower the Travel Health Notice threat level for cruise ships is a step in the right direction and recognizes the leadership and effectiveness of the cruise sector’s health and safety protocols that are unmatched by virtually any other commercial setting.

“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.

“As a result, cases of COVID-19 are very low with the vast majority mild or asymptomatic—making cruise unequaled in its multi-layered approach to effectively mitigating COVID-19."

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