CDC raises warning against cruise travel, lists risk of infection as 'very high'

Cruise lines probably won’t be thankful for this news.

As the number of coronavirus infections continues to rise across the country, the CDC has issued several guidelines in relation to travel — and one of the latest includes a recommendation against going on cruise ships, where the risk of infection is reportedly "very high."

The CDC issued the guidelines on its "COVID-19 and Cruise Ship Travel" web page, where the agency recommended avoiding travel on cruise ships, and even river cruises. This news comes only a few weeks after the CDC lifted a no-sail order in the United States for cruise ships.

According to the CDC statement, the risk for infection on cruise ships is "very high." The CDC further noted that it was especially important for travelers with “increased risk for severe illness” to avoid cruises.

For travelers who do board cruise ships, the CDC advises they get tested three-to-five days after the trip, and self-isolate at home for a seven-day period, regardless of the test results. If travelers don’t get tested, the CDC says they should stay home for the full 14-day isolation period.

Major cruise lines in the United States have had to cancel trips for most of 2020 due to the pandemic. While the no-sail order had recently been lifted, cruise lines will still need to work through a phased approach before resuming operations. During the initial phases, cruise lines would be required to show that they have implemented proper safety procedures to reduce the risk of spreading the virus through the ship.

An image taken Feb. 16, 2020 shows a cruise ship docked with people quarantined onboard due to fears of COVID-19 at the Daikaku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port in Japan. (Photo by BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s unclear how the current guidance will impact the phased approach to bringing passengers back to ships. While the CDC website recommends against traveling on cruises, the agency still appears to be moving ahead with guidance for cruise lines on the initial phases of resuming travel.

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