Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas on cruise ship barred from entering 2 island nations due to COVID-19 outbreak

(CNN) – The Miami Herald reported on Wednesday that a Royal Caribbean cruise ship was denied entry to the two island nations after 55 fully vaccinated crew members and passengers contracted COVID-19 when the ship was docked at Fort Lauderdale. had departed from
Odyssey of the Seas was barred from entering Curaçao and Aruba, effectively remaining at sea until its planned return to Fort Lauderdale on 26 December, according to the Herald.
The Curaçao Chronicle reported that health officials in Curaçao refused to allow the ship to dock because the percentage of infected people on board was too high.

According to Curaçao’s national epidemiologist Dr. Izzy Gerstenbluth, there were 51 positive cases on board on Wednesday morning.

“The day before yesterday, 18 crew members were positive, 36 yesterday and 51 this morning. Also, many crew members have not been isolated, so there is a good chance that the passengers have also been infected ,” Gerstenbluth said.

“With the number of these infections, that percentage has been exceeded and so we are not eager to get these people on the island, especially not with the current figures on the island,” Gerstenbluth told the Chronicle.

According to Royal Caribbean, Odyssey of the Seas can accommodate up to 5,500 guests and 1600 crew members. It was not clear whether the ship was fully engaged in the voyage.
The outbreak comes after at least 48 people aboard Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19, the company said, when the cruise was docked in Miami.
Symphony of the Seas – considered the world’s largest cruise ship – had more than 6,000 passengers and crew on a week-long voyage around the Caribbean. The number of people who tested positive was 0.78% of the on-board population.

It is unclear whether the highly infectious Omicron variant, which is currently spreading rapidly around the world, was responsible for the cases detected on either cruise.

Royal Caribbean rules dictate that all passengers aboard a ship 12 years of age and older must be fully vaccinated and test negative prior to departure. The cruise line says it “strongly recommends” guests receive a booster dose prior to sailing, but this is not currently mandatory.

Crew members are also required to be fully vaccinated and tested “at least once a week.”

CNN’s Andy Rose, Francesca Street and Lechelle Benken contributed to this report.

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