COVID-19 Outbreak Reported on US Cruise Ship Despite Fully Vaccinated Passengers

At least 10 cases of COVID-19 have been reported on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship disembarking in New Orleans, officials said.

All crew members and passengers are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, said the Louisiana Department of Health. The agency did not reveal the conditions of those who were infected with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

“Governor John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana Department of Health, the City of New Orleans and the Port of New Orleans are aware and working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to initiate existing COVID-19 agreements and protocols with the cruise line,” the Louisiana Department of Health said in a statement.

The Norwegian Breakaway had left New Orleans on Nov. 28, making stops in Mexico, Honduras, and Belize. The ship is set to reach New Orleans on Sunday, according to its itinerary.

Authorities with the department of health said more than 3,200 people were on board the ship.

Norwegian Cruise Lines “has been adhering to appropriate quarantine and isolation protocols as new cases and exposures have been identified aboard this vessel,” the statement continued.

Everyone on board will be tested for COVID-19 before leaving and will be provided with post-exposure and quarantine public health guidance by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

People who test positive for COVID-19 will either travel to their homes or self-isolate according to CDC guidelines, the health agency said.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“We take this matter extremely seriously and will continue to work closely with the CDC, the office of Governor John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana Department of Health as well as the city and port of New Orleans,” Norwegian Cruise Line said in a statement to news outlets.

The “identified cases onboard are asymptomatic,” a spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line told Business Insider Sunday, adding that “in addition to requiring that 100 percent of guests and crew are fully vaccinated, per the Company’s comprehensive health and safety protocols, we have implemented quarantine, isolation and contact tracing procedures for identified cases.”

During the early phase of the pandemic in 2020, cruise ships were an early source of CCP virus outbreaks. Some ships were rejected at many ports, and passengers were forced into quarantine.

There were isolated reports of passengers dying out at sea while reports said others had to be carried out of the ships on stretchers.

In March 2020, the CDC issued a no-sail order that ended in June 2021 as cruise ships started to again depart American ports with more COVID-19-related restrictions. Norwegian Cruise Line’s website says that all passengers and crew workers have to be vaccinated for COVID-19 at least two weeks before departure.