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CDC clarifies advice against cruising applies to unvaccinated people, drops warning a level

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For the first time since the pandemic, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has specified its warning against cruise travel applies just to unvaccinated people.

Warning drops to Level 3

The agency also lowered its warning against cruise travel — again, this applies to unvaccinated people — by one notch, from Level 4 'very high risk,' to Level 3 'high risk.'

The clarification comes as operators are about to begin simulated cruises using volunteers or, in the case of ships with 95% vaccinated crew/passengers, if approved by CDC, to bypass that requirement as allowed under the conditional sailing order and resume revenue operations from the US.

First test cruise June 20, first fully vaccinated cruise June 26

Royal Caribbean International was approved to operate the first test cruise from the US June 20 aboard Freedom of the Seas from PortMiami. Celebrity Cruises expects to achieve the 95% vaccination level so that Celebrity Edge on June 26 will become the first oceangoing cruise ship to sail from US waters in more than a year with a departure from Port Everglades.

CDC clarifies

Today, CDC clarified that its warning against cruise travel, including river cruises, worldwide, applies specifically to people who are not fully vaccinated.

'Since the virus spreads more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships, the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high. It is especially important that people who are not fully vaccinated with an increased risk of severe illness avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises,' the agency said.

CDC urged full vaccination for cruisers. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after a single dose in a one-dose series or two weeks after the second dose in a two-dose series.

Get tested pre-cruise, even if fully vaccinated

The agency said travelerss should get tested for COVID-19 one to three days before their departure, even if they are fully vaccinated.

Negative test required before air travel to US

All travelers returning to the US by air, including those fully vaccinated, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than three days before travel, or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months before they board a flight to the US.

After travel, people who are not fully vaccinated should get tested within three to five days, CDC said. If their test is positive, they should isolate.

They also should self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days after travel, isolate and get tested if they develop symptoms.

Even if testing negative, unvaccinated should self-quarantine after cruising

In addition to testing, passengers who are not fully vaccinated should self-quarantine for seven days after cruise travel, even if they test negative, CDC said. If they do not get tested, they should self-quarantine for 10 days after cruising.

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