CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 guidance will be optional for many cruise ships starting Saturday.

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Why this matters: In October, the CDC’s framework for cruise lines was extended until January 15, following a spike in cases. Its expiration comes two weeks after the CDC issued a warning to avoid cruise travel for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

state of play: Most cruise ships currently have reported enough coronavirus cases to meet the threshold for a CDC investigation.

  • After Saturday, CDC will transition to a voluntary risk mitigation program for cruise lines operating in US waters.
  • “This infection will continue to take strong measures to detect, reduce and control the spread of COVID, and it will align with other travel orders, including global contract tracing and global testing orders,” CDC said in an October statement voluntary program announcement
  • The CDC has notified industry members about the program and expects cruise lines to decide whether to participate in the coming week. USA Today reports,
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What are they saying: The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has recognized “the cruise industry’s unwavering commitment to providing the cruise industry with the highest levels of COVID-19 mitigation found in any industry.” said in a statement on Thursday.

  • “Cruise is the only segment of travel and tourism that requires extremely high levels of immunization … and 100% testing of each person prior to embarkation, for both passengers and crew.”
  • The industry will continue to be guided by “science and the principle of putting people first,” CLIA said.

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