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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday moved several popular beach destinations — as well as cruise ship travel — into categories at lower risk of spreading the coronavirus.
The public health agency reassigned travel warnings for nine vacation destinations in the Caribbean and Atlantic from Level 4 — which means a “very high” level of covid-19 — to Level 3, which means the level of the virus is merely “high.” They include Cuba, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos.
The CDC recommends that people avoid travel to a country or territory it has rated at the highest level. At Level 3, the agency says travelers should avoid the destinations if they are not up to date on their coronavirus vaccinations.
Cruise travel was rated a Level 4 risk during the omicron surge before moving to Level 3 in mid-February. The CDC on Monday knocked it down to Level 2, which means the chance of getting covid-19 on a cruise ship now is “moderate.”
The CDC confirms that’s the lowest level for a cruise travel warning since it began tracking coronavirus statistics. The primary criteria for determining the health notice for cruises is the number of cumulative new coronavirus cases in crew members over the past 14 days; that number needs to be between 500 and 999 to be considered “moderate.”
“CDC still recommends people make sure they are up to date with COVID-19 vaccines before cruise ship travel,” the agency said in a statement. “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.”
Only one destination was added to the Level 4 list on Monday: Mauritius, the island nation in the Indian Ocean.
Large destinations are put into the Level 4 category if they have an incidence rate of more than 500 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over the past 28 days. More than 120 countries and territories are still at the highest level.