Passengers test positive aboard first Caribbean cruise restart during COVID-19 pandemic

Passengers test positive aboard first Caribbean cruise restart during COVID-19 pandemic

On Wednesday, SeaDream Yacht Club announced that a passenger on board one of its ships had preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19.

The ship's 53 passengers - 37 Americans and 16 others from the UK, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Germany - as well as non-essential crew are quarantining in their cabins after the cruise was halted and the ship returned to dock in Barbados.

All tests of crew members have come back negative, according to the company.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order on November 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.

SeaDream Yacht Club had said in September it planned to become the first luxury cruise operator to resume sailing in the West Indies, with 22 voyages planned from November 7 onwards.

The ship is now anchored off Bridgetown as the staff conducts more tests.

In March, cruise ships were banned from sailing in USA waters after the CDC issued a no-sail order due to several outbreaks, including on the Diamond Princess and the Grand Princess where ten died and more than 800 tested positive.

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The first Caribbean cruise to launch after the no-sail order was lifted has already seen several cases of COVID-19 on board just days after departing Barbados.

Torbjorn Lund, the ship's captain, informed passengers during a ship-wide intercom address on Wednesday afternoon that a passenger has tested positive for COVID-19. It departed from Barbados on Saturday with 53 passengers and 66 crew members on board. "Everyone else has tested negative".

"All guests were tested twice prior to embarkation and we are in the process of re-testing guests." said SeaDream's executive vice president Andreas Brynestad in a statement.

None of the passengers visited any island towns during stops nor did they come in contact with locals, Sloane said.

"Now 7 cases onboard as the other half of a couple who tested positive yesterday has also tested positive", tweeted a couple who are on the ship, and chronicle cruises on YouTube.

"Before boarding, we were required to take a full COVID antigen test no longer than 72 hours before boarding". We also had our oxygen levels and temperature taken. The ship has a double capacity of 112 passengers. However, in hindsight, not wearing a mask might have made it more likely for COVID-19 to be transmitted among the guests, Sloan said.

You can read the full story here on USA Today.

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