The USA's CDC agency (Disease Control and Prevention) on Monday, March 14, moved cruise ship travel and several popular Caribbean beach destinations into categories at lower risk of spreading COVID.
The health agency reassigned travel warnings for 9 vacation destinations in the Atlantic and Caribbean from Level 4 (a “very high” level of COVID) to Level 3 (the level of the virus is merely “high”). These include Cuba, Jamaica, St Vincent & Grenadines, St Kitts & Nevis, St Maarten, BVI-British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, and Dominicana.
The CDC recommends that people avoid travel to a country/territory it has rated at the highest level. At Level 3, the CDC says travelers should avoid the destinations in case they are not up to date on their COVID vaccinations.
Cruise travel was rated a Level 4 risk during the surge of the omicron variant before moving to Level 3 in mid-February 2022. On Monday, the agency knocked it down to Level 2, which means that the chance of getting COVID on a cruise ship is now “moderate.”
The CDC confirmed that had been the lowest level for a cruise travel warning since it started tracking COVID statistics. The primary criteria for determining the health notice for sailings is the number of cumulative new cases in crew over the past 14 days - the number needs to be between 500-999 to be considered “moderate.”
In a statement, the agency said the CDC still recommended people make sure they were up to date with COVID vaccines before cruise ship travel.
“Additionally, people who are not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines and at increased risk of severe illness should avoid cruise travel at this time. This determination was made in response to decrease in COVID-19 cases occurring on cruise ships operating in the United States.”
Just one destination was added to Level 4 on Monday: the island nation in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius. Large destinations are put into this category if they have an incidence rate of 500+ new COVID cases per 100,000 people over the past 28 days.
120+ countries and territories are still at this highest level.