Late this afternoon the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention downgraded their recommendation against non-essential travel to Mexico in effect since April 27, 2009, changing it to a “Travel Health Precaution for Mexico.” In response to the downgraded travel precaution, The Cruise Line International Association issued the following statement:

“The Cruise Line International Association applauds today’s announcement by the CDC to downgrade its travel warning for Mexico. This is very good news for Mexico and its port communities, as well as for Americans who have made plans to travel to Mexico. While we appreciate and applaud today’s decision, we also urge cruise line passengers to follow CDC’s travel recommendations if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms or are at high risk from flu complications.

“To help protect against the spread of H1N1 flu, CLIA member lines will continue to use the enhanced health screening protocols announced on May 1. Under these protocols, all passengers scheduled to board CLIA member line cruise ships are required to complete the new public health questionnaire prior to boarding at any port. CLIA member lines perform a secondary screening if a passenger reports on the questionnaire flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat, or contact with a confirmed H1N1 flu case. Medical personnel at each cruise line are making case by case decisions regarding the boarding of these passengers. Passengers are not permitted to travel if they exhibit influenza-like-illness or meet the suspect case conditions for H1N1 flu as defined by CDC. All other passengers are permitted to travel.

“The enhanced screening protocols augment comprehensive vessel sanitation and public health surveillance procedures already employed by the industry, and subject to inspection by CDC in the U.S., that reduce the potential for transmission of contagious diseases including H1N1 flu. These practices include the use of recommended disinfectants, surveillance and treatment of illnesses like influenza, isolation of sick passengers, food safety sanitation protocols, and consultation with public health authorities. The industry will continue to work with the CDC and other governmental agencies in an effort to mitigate illnesses that may occur aboard cruise ships.”