Cruise with COVID outbreak arrives in New Orleans, Omicron status unclear
- At least 10 people tested positive for the virus while on board
- The cruise made stops in Honduras, Belize and Mexico
- More than 3,200 people are on board, officials said
A COVID-19 outbreak was reported on a Norwegian Cruise Line, which has now docked in Louisiana's New Orleans. At least 10 people tested positive for the virus while on board, according to statements from officials. It is unclear if those who have tested positive are carrying the Omicron variant.
The Lousiana Department of Health said in a press release that the vessel, tagged as The Norwegian Breakaway, had made stops in Honduras, Mexico and Belize over the past week. The ship had departed on November 28 is scheduled to return this weekend.
According to reports from Associated Press citing state officials, more than 3,200 people are on board.
According to the statement, The Norwegian Breakaway “has been adhering to appropriate quarantine and isolation protocols as new cases and exposures have been identified aboard this vessel.”
Prior to disembarking in New Orleans, each person on board will be tested for the coronavirus. Anyone who tests positive will either go directly home or self-isolate in accommodations provided by the cruise line, officials said in a statement.
Any information, including the identity, of those who had contracted the virus, was not released by the state authorities.
Cruise ships were an early source of outbreaks last year at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as some ships were rejected at ports and passengers were forced into quarantine. Some passengers died of COVID-19 at sea while others fell so ill they had to be carried out of the vessels on stretchers, according to reports from Associated Press.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a no-sail order in March 2020, prompting a standstill that ended last June as cruise ships began to leave American ports with new health and safety requirements.
According to Norwegian's website, the company requires all passengers and crew members to have been vaccinated against the virus at least two weeks prior to departure.
(With AP inputs)