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CDC warns COVID high-risk groups not to cruise, even if they're vaccinated

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance to recommend that travelers who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 avoid taking cruises, even if they're vaccinated.

This applies to older adults, people with certain medical conditions and pregnant and recently pregnant people.

Before this, CDC had advised people who are not fully vaccinated to avoid cruise travel, worldwide, including river cruises.

Delta variant

Friday's CDC update came as the Delta variant sends COVID-19 cases soaring in parts of the US, with the daily average 145,913 on Aug. 20, a 37% increase over 14 days, according to The New York Times

'The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people in close quarters aboard ships, and the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high,' CDC said. 'Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships.'

Masks advised

The agency also advised that cruisers should wear a mask when in shared spaces and noted that while the US is not enforcing its mask order on cruise ships, individual lines may require travelers to wear masks indoors.

That is increasingly the case. 

Lines have been tightening their policies

During August, a growing number of lines tightened their mask policies and some are also requiring pre-embarkation COVID-19 tests of all travelers, regardless of vaccination status