According to the Belize Tourism Board 27 people aboard the Carnival Vista cruise ship tested positive for COVID-19 despite being vaccinated. However, the tourism board said that the cases were very mild or asymptomatic. Twenty-six of them were crew members while one was a passenger. The ship had already left Galveston, Texas after which the outbreak was reported to authorities when the ship reached Belize. There were also a few cases last week, but the cruise line did not disclose the number.
On Friday, Carnival released a statement to ABC News that said that they had managed the situation using stringent health protocols as they placed the persons who tested positive in isolation and put their close contacts in quarantine. It also stated that guests aboard the July 31 and the August 7 sailings were notified and were kept updated. The cruise line had also apprised the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as destination officials about the situation.
On Wednesday, the ship docked in Belize. Contact tracing was conducted for almost 3,000 guests and 1,500 crew. The Belize Tourism Board said that no further cases were found and that the ship continued on its way and docked at Cozumel yesterday.
The board also said that after a thorough review of the situation and after determining that the risk was low and the fact that the CDC was aware of the situation, the board had concluded that the situation was contained, and the safety protocols had proved to be effective. Guests are expected to disembark tomorrow. The cruise line had said that all unvaccinated guests are scheduled to be tested before they arrive in the U.S.
The CDC has also mentioned that it had investigated the situation on Carnival Vista. It also said that the ship was under observation.
Last week, on August 4, the Miami-based cruise line updated its mask policy. As per the new policy, all guests on the Vista were required to wear masks in certain indoor areas. From tomorrow onwards, guests on Carnival sailings have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before sailing. This negative test is now required, regardless of vaccine status.