US federal health officials on Wednesday canceled warnings they had issued about cruise travel since the start of the lockdown.a COVID-19 pandemicleaving it up to vacationers to decide whether they feel safe getting on a ship or not.
Cruise operators welcomed the announcement, issued at a time when many people are thinking about their summer vacations.
A business group in the sector said that the decision of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The CDC validates the measures ship owners have taken, which include requiring crew members and most passengers to be vaccinated against the virus.
The CDC has withdrawn the “cruise travel health advisory” related to COVID-19, which was first issued in March 2020 due to outbreaks of the coronavirus on various ships in various parts of the world.
However, the agency expressed reservations about taking cruises.
“While taking cruise travel will always carry some risk of transmission of COVID-19, travelers will make their own risk assessment when choosing to travel on a cruise ship, similar to that they do in all other travel settings,” he said. Dave Daigle, a spokesman for the CDC, in an email.
Daigle noted that the CDC’s decision was based on “the current state of the pandemic and the decline in COVID-19 cases aboard cruise ships in recent weeks.”
COVID-19 cases in the United States have been on the decline since mid-January, although the decline has slowed in recent weeks, and the current seven-day daily moving average of new cases in the country has remained almost unchanged from the two weeks ago, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. States have lifted mask mandates, prompting federal authorities to ease virus-related restrictions.
Outbreaks continue to be reported on cruise ships, which carry out random tests before the tours come to an end.
On Sunday, a Princess Cruises ship returning from the Panama Canal had “several” passengers who tested positive for the virus. Princess Cruises said that all affected people showed mild or no symptoms, and that all crew and passengers had been vaccinated. About a dozen passengers tested positive before the same ship docked in San Francisco in January.
Operators are required to notify the CDC of cases of the virus aboard ships. The agency has a color-coding system to classify ships based on the percentage of passengers who have tested positive. The CDC said that system remains in place.
Cruise operators have complained since the start of the pandemic that their particular sector was closed and more severely restricted by COVID-19 than others, including airlines.
Cruise Lines International Association CLIA said in a statement that the CDC’s decision to withdraw its health warnings “recognizes the effective public measures in place for cruise ships and begins to level the playing field between cruise ships and similar facilities located on land”.