At least five people on newly relaunched Caribbean cruise test positive for the coronavirus
The SeaDream 1 ordered passengers and crewmembers to quarantine and altered voyage plans after people aboard tested positive for COVID-19.
Multiple passengers aboard one of the first cruise ships to set sail since the pandemic began have tested positive for coronavirus.
CNN reports that so far, seven people on the SeaDream 1 have confirmed cases of COVID-19. The cruise ship docked in Barbados where all 53 passengers and 66 crew were tested after one guest became sick on Wednesday. Those who receive negative test results will be allowed to return home.
“We are working closely with local health and government authorities to resolve this situation in the best possible way,” said SeaDream’s Andreas Brynestad, according to CNN.
Gene Sloan, a travel and cruise journalist on the trip documented the journey for The Points Guy. He reported on Wednesday after the initial guest became ill, captain Torbjorn Lund made an announcement requesting all passengers to return to their cabins, where they would be isolated. Before coming onto the ship, passengers were required to submit to multiple COVID-19 tests in an attempt to “create a COVID-free bubble.” All attendees were required to test negative days before boarding, the day of, and a third test was planned the day the passenger became sick.
“Please allow a bit of extra time for us to adjust for this new situation,” Lund said, according to Sloan’s report. “We are confident in our routines and medical plans, but they are strict, and we apologize for this inconvenience.”
While he confirmed social distancing and some mask-wearing were standard on the ship, unfortunately, the number of cases still grew beyond the first solo COVID-19 patient. Sloan reported the cruise passengers did not interact with anyone outside of the ship, so despite the precautions, it is likely the passenger boarded already having coronavirus.
A press release from SeaDream said the Caribbean excursion followed a successful summer of cruises in Norway, where according to CNN, no passengers or crew contracted COVID-19.
“Sailing during these times undoubtedly presents some new challenges. But as the first luxury line to begin sailing again, we have learned many lessons and are confident we can provide a safe environment without sacrificing luxury,“ said Brynestad in the statement. “We are thrilled to offer our guests a much-needed escape and the dream vacation they deserve onboard SeaDream.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order on Nov. 3, adding requirements that cruise ship operators must take to expand safety measures for the crew, including laboratory testing for SARS-CoV-2 infection and other policies to prevent the risk of COVID-19 onboard cruise ships. An initial no-sail order expired on Oct. 31.
As theGrio reported, members of the Cruise Lines International Association, including Princess, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean plan to spend the remainder of the year preparing for a 2021 comeback. In order to begin sailing, the companies must prove procedures for testing, quarantining, and isolating passengers and crew, build labs on every ship for testing, and complete mock voyages with volunteers.
According to Sloan, the passengers currently quarantined on the SeaDream1 will be allowed to travel home on Saturday if they test negative for COVID-19. Five of the seven passengers who have tested positive are part of one family traveling together who stayed in the same cabins. The other two are a husband-and-wife couple who shared a cabin.
Coronavirus cases continue to spike in the United States and across the globe. As theGrio reported, the U.S. has counted over 240,000 deaths and more than 10.3 million confirmed COVID-19 patients with new cases reaching over 120,000 per day over the past week.
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