COVID-19 Outbreak Reported on US Cruise Ship Despite Fully Vaccinated Passengers
All of the crew members and passengers taking part in the cruise have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. The agency didn’t reveal the conditions of those who were infected with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
“Governor John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana Department of Health, the City of New Orleans, and the Port of New Orleans are aware and working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to initiate existing COVID-19 agreements and protocols with the cruise line,” the Louisiana Department of Health said in a statement.
The Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship had left New Orleans on Nov. 28, making stops in Mexico, Honduras, and Belize. The ship was set to reach New Orleans on Dec. 5, according to its itinerary. Authorities with the department of health stated that more than 3,200 people were on board the ship.
Norwegian Cruise Lines “has been adhering to appropriate quarantine and isolation protocols as new cases and exposures have been identified aboard this vessel,” according to the statement.
Everyone on board will be tested for COVID-19 before leaving and will be provided with post-exposure and quarantine public health guidance by the CDC. Those who test positive for COVID-19 will either travel to their homes or self-isolate according to CDC guidelines, the health agency stated.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.
“We take this matter extremely seriously and will continue to work closely with the CDC, the office of Governor John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana Department of Health as well as the city and port of New Orleans,” Norwegian Cruise Line said in a statement to media outlets.
The “identified cases onboard are asymptomatic,” a spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line told Business Insider on Dec. 5.
“In addition to requiring that 100 percent of guests and crew are fully vaccinated, per the company’s comprehensive health and safety protocols, we have implemented quarantine, isolation, and contact tracing procedures for identified cases,” the spokesperson said.
During the early phase of the pandemic in 2020, cruise ships were an early source of CCP virus outbreaks. Some ships were rejected at many ports, and passengers were forced into quarantine.
There were isolated reports of passengers dying out at sea, while reports stated that others had to be carried out of the ships on stretchers.
In March 2020, the CDC issued a no-sail order that ended in June 2021 as cruise ships started to again depart U.S. ports with more COVID-19-related restrictions. Norwegian Cruise Line’s website states that all passengers and crew workers have to be vaccinated for COVID-19 at least two weeks before departure.
Reuters contributed to this report.