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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Carnival Cruise Ship in Belize Records 27 Positive COVID-19 Cases

The Belize Tourism Board has reported that 26 crew members and one passenger on board the Carnival Vista cruise ship have tested positive for COVID-19. The ship is carrying 2895 guests and 1441 crew. 

As per the normal protocol, upon submission of the Maritime Declaration by the ship in anticipation of its call to Belize the ship reported that it had on board 27 positive cases. As a result, the Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, along with his team from the Ministry and the Belize Tourism Board, met virtually with officials from the Carnival Vista on August 10 to discuss the notification that persons aboard the vessel tested positive for COVID-19. The Tourism Board said the discussions provided an update on the current situation, and a thorough reassurance of the protocols put in place on the ship to effectively contain the situation. The team at Carnival noted that all positive cases have been isolated and contact tracing has ended with no additional positive cases found, and that the infected crew and passenger do not pose a threat to guests, crew or frontline workers in Belize.

The Belize Tourism Board said that 99.98% of the Carnival Vista’s crew are vaccinated, and 96.5% of the passengers are vaccinated. Further, all persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 are vaccinated and most are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms.

Additional protocols have been put in place including increased mask wearing indoors, use of N95 masks by crew, crew social areas have been closed, and as early as the next departure, all guests will require a negative rapid test, regardless of whether they are vaccinated.

After a thorough review of the situation, and after determining that the risk is low, including the fact that CDC is aware of the situation, it was concluded that the situation is contained, and safety protocols are proving effective. Nonetheless, in an abundance of caution after discussions and consultations undertaken with the Belize Ministry of Health and Wellness, an additional protocol will be implemented. Effectively, all passengers that have a negative COVID-19 test will be asked to provide proof of this negative test, and for those passengers that do not have proof of negative test will be subject to random testing to be carried out by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. 

Personnel from the Ministry of Health and Wellness also carried out an inspection of the protocols on board the Carnival Vista and are satisfied that they have been able to verify that the measures put in place by the ship are meticulous and deemed highly effective. With this in mind, passengers will be allowed to disembark in Belize and conduct shore excursions as per normal. 

Cruise lines resumed sailing in the Western Caribbean and Belize in July. The Belize Tourism Board said that with the stringent protocols, it is inevitable that COVID cases will be detected, but it is imperative that these situations are handled correctly to avoid further spread or unnecessary cancelations. According to local protocols, passengers will not be allowed to disembark if the total number of positive cases exceeds 2% of the ship’s passengers.

Read more at the Belize Tourism Board

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