US raises travel alert on Omicron cruises and asks to avoid them


Cruises remain under the scrutiny of the CDC against infections by Omicron.

Cruises remain under the scrutiny of the CDC against infections by Omicron.

Photo: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

The United States health authorities urged this Thursday to avoid cruise travel, including vaccinated people, in the face of the new wave of COVID-19 driven by the contagious Omicron variant that has triggered the contagion in these ships.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which investigates nearly 100 infections on cruise ships in the past seven days, raised its cruise travel advisory to the highest level.

At least 5,000 COVID-19 cases have occurred on cruise ships between December 15 and 29, according to data reported to the CDC.

This federal agency pointed out today that it is important that travelers who have a higher risk of contracting serious diseases from covid-19 avoid traveling on cruise ships, including river ones, around the world, “regardless of vaccination status.”

The CDC is investigating the outbreak of the last 7 days on 91 cruise ships in the middle of Christmas, despite the almost total vaccination of the crew and passengers.

The virus “spreads easily between people who are in confined spaces on board ships., and the possibility of contracting COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high, even if you are fully vaccinated and have received a booster dose of the vaccine, ”the CDC alert detailed.

The 91 ships are under a “yellow” alert because in the last 7 days at least 0.10% of the passengers have presented COVID-19 infection or symptoms of the virus (for example, if there are at least 7 of the 6,500 passengers on board of those cases).

This percentage includes passenger cases that occur within 5 days of disembarkation and reported to the CDC by state or local health departments.

Similarly, this alert applies if one or more crew members are infected, or if the shipping company has failed in the last week with the daily report on the pandemic.

CDC advised these travelers to get vaccinated, receive the booster dose and the use of masks in shared spaces.

The new wave of the pandemic continues to ruin the Christmas plans of many travelers, either by decision of shipping companies, frightened or infected travelers who aborted their plans or by governments, which have the last word when it comes to allowing the arrival of the ships to their countries.

Anne Madison, spokesperson for the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), told Efe on Tuesday that the shipping companies’ “effective” public health protocols “have achieved a lower rate of covid-19 than on land, even when they have new variants have emerged, and with a higher proportion of asymptomatic or mild cases ”.

The spokeswoman complained that “there is no other review system” for the travel industry like the one established by the CDC for cruises, the CLIA spokeswoman said.

He underlined that CLIA members, representing “90% of companies with ocean cruises,” “sail today with some of the highest levels of covid-19 mitigation of any industry.”

Madison added that cruise lines are “the only travel providers” that submit daily reports to the CDC about the pandemic, even “when there is nothing to report.”

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