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CDC drops cruise ship COVID-19 travel risk advisory

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday, dropped its travel risk advisory for cruise ships, but still encourages all passengers to be fully vaccinated before boarding.  File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday, dropped its travel risk advisory for cruise ships, but still encourages all passengers to be fully vaccinated before boarding.  File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

March 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dropped its COVID-19 risk warning for cruise ships on Wednesday.

The CDC announced the update on its website, removing cruise ships from its page of color-coded travel recommendations.

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At the end of December, cruise liners were on the agency's highest risk category, Level 4.

The CDC still encourages all cruise ship passengers to be fully vaccinated before boarding and to follow all guidelines while on board.

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"The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people in close quarters on board ships. If the virus is spreading on board a cruise ship, passengers and crew are at risk for infection, even if they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines," the CDC says on its website.

"Check your cruise ship's color and vaccination status classification before traveling. Be aware that the ship's status could change over time and may be different by the time of your cruise."

It will be up to passengers to evaluate their own health risks.

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The news was welcomed by the cruise ship industry.

"Today's decision by the U.S. Centers forDisease Control and Prevention to altogether remove the Travel Health Notice for cruising recognizes the effective public health measures in place on cruise ships and begins to level the playing field, between cruise and similarly situated venues on land, for the first time since March 2020," reads a statement released by the Cruise Lines International Association, an industry group.

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"From the onset of the pandemic, CLIA's cruise line members have prioritized the health and safety of their guests, crew, and the communities they visit and are sailing today with health measures in place that are unmatched by virtually any other commercial setting."

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Guidance outlined by the CDC for cruise lines became voluntary in January.

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