Posted: Dec 5, 2021 / 12:24 PM CST
Updated Dec 5, 2021 / 2:06 PM CST
FILE – People take a break to look at Norwegian Cruise Line’s ship, Norwegian Breakaway, on the Hudson River in New York on May 8, 2013. Ten people on board the cruise ship approaching New Orleans tested positive for COVID-19, officials said Saturday night, December 4, 2021. Norwegian Breakaway left New Orleans on November 28 and is scheduled to return this weekend, said the Louisiana Department of Health in a press release. Last week the ship made stops in Belize, Honduras and Mexico. (AP Photo / Richard Drew, File)
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – A Norwegian Cruise Line ship carrying at least 10 passengers and crew members infected with COVID-19 docked in New Orleans on Sunday, where health officials said they would attempt to disembark without the spread of the coronavirus – disease aggravate.
Local news outlets in New Orleans confirmed that Norwegian Breakaway had arrived in town. The ship left New Orleans on November 28th. The Louisiana Department of Health said in a press release late Saturday that the ship made stops in Belize, Honduras and Mexico for the past week.
Norwegian Cruise Line issued a statement confirming a “handful of COVID-19 cases among guests and crew”. The company said all cases identified were in people with no symptoms of the disease.
Norwegian requires that all passengers and crew members be vaccinated against the coronavirus prior to departure.
“We test everyone on Norwegian Breakaway before disembarkation and provide post-exposure and quarantine public health guidelines by the (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention),” the company said in a statement. “All guests who test positive for COVID-19 will travel to their personal residence in a personal vehicle or self-isolate in company accommodations.”
The state health department – which is working with the cruise line and state and local officials to contain the outbreak – said at least 10 people on the ship had tested positive for COVID-19. More than 3,200 people were on board the ship, officials said.
Some disembarking passengers told WVUE-TV in New Orleans that they had been informed of the positive cases on the ship, while others said they had no idea about the outbreak until asked about it by a reporter.
“We didn’t hear about this until we heard you speak a second ago,” said Don Canole, a passenger from North Carolina. “It would have been nice to have known. We might have taken a few more precautions. “
Passengers said they were tested for COVID-19 on Saturday before disembarking on Sunday. According to WVUE, the cruise line also gave passengers quick tests to take with them when they left the ship.
The company said there are currently no changes planned to the planned future departures on Norwegian Breakaway and the ship is expected to depart on Sunday evening.
Cruise ships were an early source of outbreaks at the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year as some ships were turned back in ports and passengers were forced into quarantine. The CDC issued a no-sail order in March 2020 that resulted in a stalemate that ended last June when cruise ships began to leave US ports with new health and safety requirements.