27 people aboard Carnival cruise test positive for COVID-19, Belize tourism board says

Twenty-seven people aboard a Carnival cruise tested positive for COVID-19 just before the ship made a stop in Belize City this week, according to the Belize Tourism Board.

The positive cases were among 26 crew members and one passenger on the Carnival Vista, which is carrying over 1,400 crew and nearly 3,000 passengers, the board said in a statement. The ship arrived Wednesday in Belize City.

All 27 people were vaccinated, had mild or no symptoms, and were in isolation, according to the statement. The tourism board said 99.98 per cent of the ship’s crew was vaccinated, as well as 96.5 per cent of its passengers.

The Washington Post reported Carnival said it announced last week that there were positive cases on board, but the cruise line did not not give specific numbers. The ship left from Galveston, Texas, according to the Post.

Carnival is requiring passengers to be vaccinated, though there are exceptions for children and people with medical issues.

The cruise line said in a statement Aug. 4 that passengers must wear a mask in certain indoor areas, and provide a negative COVID test within three days of embarkment for cruises beginning Aug. 14.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on its website that it had investigated the Carnival Vista and the ship remains under observation.

Return to sailing

Cruise lines have pushed ahead with a return to sailing this summer, more than a year after several ships were host to major coronavirus outbreaks and restrictions brought the industry to a standstill.

The CDC has said it is not possible for cruising to be a zero-risk activity as it will always pose some risk of transmission and that it is committed to ensuring that cruise ship operations are conducted in a safe manner.

Last month, federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced that Canada is allowing cruise ships back in its waters on Nov. 1. The minister said cruise companies will be required to “fully comply with public health requirements” in order to sail through Canada’s waters and dock at its ports.

Federal officials had originally extended the cruise ship ban until the end of February, but Alghabra said the government felt it was possible to shorten the restriction period since the country has made progress with vaccinations and reducing COVID-19 case counts.

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