CDC Issues New COVID-19 Travel Notice

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a Level 4 travel notice on November 21 advising against cruise travel. It also published an update to its air travel guidance.

The notice recommends that all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide, due to the “very high” risk of contracting COVID-19 on board. CDC says it is especially important that people with an increased risk of severe illness avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises.

The first cruise to return to the Caribbean this year, was suspended after an outbreak of COVID-19 was reported on the SeaDream 1 cruise ship. 

Social distancing can be difficult on cruise ships, especially in communal areas or when passing in corridors. There is also the added complexity of shared dining and drinking options on board where travelers would be unable to wear masks despite being in close proximity to others indoors.

CDC says passengers who do decide to go on a cruise against advice should get tested three to five days after their trip and stay home for seven days after travel. Even those who test negative should stay home for the full seven days, says the CDC notice. And for those who don’t get tested, CDC advises staying home for 14 days after travel.  

With air travel, despite many airports and airlines taking extra precautions, the risk is still present due to lots of people gathering in terminals, security lines and dining areas at airports. CDC is therefore recommending that Americans who are choosing to fly out of the country get tested before and after traveling. Those who test negative upon return are advised to stay home for seven days, and those who choose not to get tested are recommended to stay home for 14 days after travel.

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Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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