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USA softens COVID-19 health alert for cruise ship passengers

The U.S. authorities reduced the alert for those who want to travel on cruise ships from ports in the country and no longer recommend completely avoiding boarding on these ships, but consider that it is a risk for those who are not fully vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, in English), which is in talks with shipping companies for an early resumption of this sector in July, updated the guidelines for the management of the pandemic and reduced thus the alert from ‘very high risk to ‘high’.

However, the federal agency recommended not traveling to passengers who are not fully vaccinated because ‘they are more likely to contract COVID-19’ and recalled that outbreaks have been reported on these ships, according to the updated warning on the official portal of the CDC.

Yesterday, Wednesday, the Royal Caribbean company postponed for another month the Odyssey of the Seas cruise ship, which was going to reactivate its activities in US ports in early July due to eight positive cases of COVID-19 in its crew.

The company, based in Miami (USA), reported that the 1,400 crew members are vaccinated, but that the contagion happened in the middle of the two doses when the period of complete immunization had not been fulfilled.

Similarly, last week two passengers on the ship of Celebrity Cruises, a Royal Caribbean subsidiary, which was traveling through the Caribbean, tested positive for COVID-19.

The cruise industry, which has been paralyzed for 15 months in the US, is preparing to restart activities from July, under the conditions of the CDC.

This federal agency allows the option of cruises with crew and passengers vaccinated by 98% and 95%, respectively, or ships that have successfully tested their health protocols on trips with volunteer passengers.

This second mode of simulated travel does not require vaccination and does not represent income for the company because passengers do not pay.

“It is especially important that people who are not fully vaccinated avoid traveling on cruise ships, including river cruises”, the CDC emphasized.

The previous warning, the highest at level 4, imposed after infections that spread rapidly on ships last year, recommended that travelers avoid cruise ship travel altogether.

For the resumption of the cruises, the shipping companies also face in Florida a law promoted by Governor Ron de Santis, which prohibits companies from requiring proof of vaccination.

The measure, which takes effect on July 1, fines up to $ 5,000 each time a company requests the so-called ‘vaccination passport’.

In addition, Republican DeSantis has sued the federal government for its requirements to allow the restart of navigation, although many of the companies have already reached agreements with the CDC for its early reactivation.

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