27-People-Sailing-Aboard-Carnival-Vista-Test-Positive-for-COVID-19
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Cruises


Twenty-seven people sailing aboard Carnival Vista in the Caribbean have tested positive for COVID-19, 26 of whom are crew members and the other a passenger. However, it’s been determined that the infected individuals, who are all fully vaccinated, do not pose a threat to other guests, crew or frontline workers in the ship’s port of call.

The situation was reported in a news release from the Belize Tourism Board issued on Wednesday, the same day that the ship pulled into port at Belize City. Per normal protocol, ahead of Vista’s arrival, ship officials reported to port authorities that it carried 27 positive cases on board.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

Belize’s Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, along with Ministry members and the Belize Tourism Board, met virtually with Carnival Vista’s officials on August 10 for an update on the current situation. Ship officials confirmed that all positive cases had been isolated, and contact tracing and follow-up testing was conducted, but no additional positive cases were found.

Everyone who tested positive is actually fully vaccinated, and most are asymptomatic or are experiencing very mild symptoms. Carnival spokesperson AnneMarie Matthews confirmed the presence of positive cases in a statement to USA Today. She said that the ship’s first positive cases were announced last Wednesday, August 4, in the middle of its previous cruise, but didn’t specify how many people were found to be positive at that time.

“We are managing a small number of COVID cases on board Vista,” Matthews said. “Guests on board both the previous and current sailing were informed and, specifically on the current sailing, the Captain has made at least two announcements related to this.”

Carnival Vista’s current sailing runs August 7–14, as its season consists of seven-day, round-trip Western Caribbean cruises out of Galveston, Texas, with stops at Honduras’ Roatan Island, Belize City and Cozumel.

While COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective, they can’t claim to provide complete protection 100 percent of the time. A CDC investigation said it’s expected that a small percentage of those who are fully vaccinated will still contract COVID-19, especially given the virulence of the Delta variant that now dominates in the U.S. and elsewhere. However, people with breakthrough infections are far less likely to suffer severe illness or death from the disease.


Carnival Vista (© Carnival
Carnival Vista (photo via Carnival Cruise Line)

Per Carnival’s pandemic policy, 99.98 percent of the 1,441 crew members currently aboard Carnival Vista and 96.5 percent of its 2,895 passengers are fully vaccinated. The ship is operating at limited capacity, as its capable of carrying 3,934 passengers and 1,450 crew under normal circumstances.

A team from Belize’s Ministry of Health and Wellness inspected the ship themselves and concluded that the infection had been contained, and the ship’s current protocols are “meticulous” and highly effective.

Still, out of an abundance of caution, the Belizean ministry asked passengers who already held negative COVID-19 tests to present them for verification and conducted random rapid testing on those without one. It was determined that the situation had been contained and the risk of any further infection was low, so Vista’s passengers were permitted to disembark in Belize and go on their shore excursions, as per usual.

Nevertheless, officials noted that even more safety measures were being implemented onboard. “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,” the Belize Tourism Board explained.





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