Positive COVID-19 tests reported on first Caribbean cruise to resume operations amid pandemic

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Nov. 13 (UPI) — The first cruise ship to set sail in the Caribbean since the cruise industry ground to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic has confirmed cases of the virus among its passengers.

In a press release on Thursday, the SeaDream Yacht Club said guests aboard the SeaDream I vessel have tested positive for COVID-19.

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The release did not say how many passengers tested positive for the deadly and infectious coronavirus but said all crew have been tested and their results came back negative.

Due to the positive cases, the SeaDream I has “paused” its current Caribbean voyage and has returned to Barbados, the company said.

“We are working closely with local health and government authorities to resolve this situation in the best possible way,” SeaDream’s Andreas Brynestad said in the statement. “Our main priority is the health and safety of our crew, guests and the communities we visit.”

All guests and non-essential crew have been quarantined to their staterooms while SeaDream awaits authorization from the Barbados government to disembark guests, the statement said.

There are 53 passengers and 66 crew aboard the ship, Cruise Critic reported.

The voyage, which set sail from Barbados over the weekend, was the first of 22 roundtrip sailings of the West Indies the company had planned for the SeaDream I following the completion of 21 voyages in Norway during the summer season, it said.

“This journey will take us to beautiful beaches while enjoying a safe environment onboard and SeaDream’s signature service,” the company said in has said that research shows cruise ships pose a greater risk for transmitting COVID-19 than other settings due to their high density of their populations.

The CDC had issued a no sail order from March 14 to Oct. 29 and is currently taking a phased approach to resuming passenger operations, it said.

During the first months of the pandemic, several cruise ships became infected with the coronavirus.

In January, the Diamond Princess was moored off the Port of Yokohama in Japan after infections of the coronavirus were discovered among passengers on board. By the last passenger to disembark from the vessel, a total of 712 of the 3,711 passengers on board had tested positive for the virus.

In March, the Grand Princess docked off the California coast with at least 21 positives coronavirus cases.

The SeaDream Yacht Club said every crew member has been certified by the World Health Organization to prevent and control COVID-19 and has undergone the COVID-19 contact tracing course offered by Johns Hopkins University.

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