The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has elevated its warnings for two more cruise ship ports of call in the Caribbean, according to an announcement posted on the agency’s website. The changes come after CDC staff ramped up their monitoring of ship passenger health, the agency explains.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today that two more cruise destinations have been elevated from level 4 to level 5 on the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) 2011 cruise destination classification scale.
Level 4 is the second-highest level of risk for Zika. The CDC’,s travel warning for the Caribbean, issued last week, notes that levels 4 and 5 are “very high risk,” meaning that there is a “high probability of Zika virus transmission” in areas where there are currently no locally acquired cases of Zika. These are the only two Caribbean destinations that are currently on level 4. The CDC also raised the Zika risk level for Puerto Rico to level 3, which is the second-highest risk, while the risk level for US territories Virgin Islands and Samoa was raised to level 2, which is the fourth-highest risk.
On August 30, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised the COVID danger level for two more cruise locations to level 4, indicating a high chance of COVID-19. The list has been expanded to include Puerto Rico and St. Lucia.
The number of cruise locations with a COVID-19 Level 4: Very High Level classification is constantly increasing. The Bahamas, St. Maarten, Aruba, Dominica, Curacao, St. Barts, Martinique, the US Virgin Islands, and the British Virgin Islands are among the countries on the list, in addition to Puerto Rico and St. Lucia.
Level 4: Puerto Rico and St. Lucia
According to the CDC’s website, the cruise destinations of Puerto Rico and St. Lucia now fall into the “Covid-19 Very High” Level 4 category, which means they had more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the last 28 days.
Travel Warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for Puerto Rico
Destinations with 100 to 500 instances per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 28 days fall into the Level 3 group. The proportion of vaccinated people or hospitalizations is not specified or counted in the list.
The CDC now recommends that passengers be completely vaccinated before going to the two cruise locations. There is somewhat more information about St. Lucia, with the CDC warning that owing to the spreading varients, there is a higher chance of contracting COVID. It’s also recommended that visitors visiting the Caribbean island wear a mask and keep a distance of six feet.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel advisory for St. Lucia.
The CDC’s level list should be regarded as guidance on whether each nation is safe to visit. Another important consideration is if a nation has the same level of health and medical treatment as the United States.
“Travel increases your chances of acquiring and transmitting COVID-19,” the CDC stated in a statement to the Washington Post. Even if you are healthy and have no symptoms, you may still transmit COVID-19 to others. The easiest method to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 is to stay at home. Travelers should be mindful that they may transmit illness to individuals who may not have the same access to immunizations and excellent medical treatment as they have at their destination.”
As it is, the CDC’s advice is limited; but, if the CDC’s advice is combined with that of the State Department, as it typically is, travelers may anticipate to encounter additional problems.
Things to Do in St. Lucia While on a Cruise is a good read.
These include things like travel insurance, which may or may not cover certain occurrences. If traveling to or stopping at a cruise port classified as level four, passengers should always verify their insurance coverage with their provider. The State Department also cautions that consular services may be limited in certain locations:
“We advise individuals not to go to specific high-risk nations and regions in our travel advice, both because of local circumstances and because our capacity to offer consular services in such areas is limited.”
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/bear productions
Is The Travel Notice Affecting Cruises?
The cruise companies have so far been unaffected by the CDC’s travel advisory. Until now, the cruise industry has mainly had to cope with regulations imposed by government bodies outside of the United States. The Bahamas and the US Virgin Islands, for example, require cruise passengers to be completely vaccinated before visiting the islands.
When the Mardi Gras arrived in Puerto Rico for the first time, Carnival Cruise Line issued a statement stating that the island would not allow unvaccinated passengers to disembark.
Are cruises now impacted? No, it’s not true. The notification should have no effect on calls by cruise ships like the Mardi Gras, Vision of the Seas, and MSC Meraviglia to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Celebrity Equinox, Seabourn Odyssey, Vision of the Seas, and Viking Orion should not be impacted by calls to St. Lucia. Of course, cruise companies have the option to alter ports if they believe it is essential.
Also see: The CDC Modifies Its Conditional Sailing Order for Cruise Ships in a Number of Ways
There are many more instances when ports of call have regulations in place that go well beyond the CDC’s procedures. In many instances, these are nations that have been classified as category four by the CIA.
For the time being, tourists should be mindful of the CDC and State Department alerts. Traveling anywhere in the globe carries danger; for the time being, it is up to the individual to decide whether or not that risk is worth accepting.
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