Cruise ship hell: Covid outbreak sees 48 test positive despite 95% being fully vaccinated

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The cases are now in quarantine after Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas was hit with an outbreak. Of the 48 people who tested positive, 98 percent were fully vaccinated. The overall vaccination rate among the nearly 6,100 passengers and crew was already at 95 percent, according to Royal Caribbean. And all travellers older than 12 years of age needed to show evidence of a negative test result before the trip, according to the company.

It comes after cruise companies tightened their COVID-19 protocols over the summer, which when cases of the Delta variant soared.

The cruise line said that four of the 48 people who tested positive were close contacts of six passengers who got off the boat earlier in the voyage.

The giant boat is packed with entertainment onboard, with a nightclub, theatre and more than 30 restaurants and bars.

It left Miami on December 11 for a seven-day trip and made a number of different stops, including the Caribbean islands of St. Maarten and St. Thomas.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) said it was aware of this outbreak and was working with Royal Caribbean to “gather more information about the cases and possible exposures”.

Officials said specimens would be taken for genetic sequencing, according to The Washington Post.

The CDCP said cruise companies reported 1,359 cases last month, with a large amount involving fully vaccinated crew or passengers travelling on US ships between June 26 and October 21.

During this period there were 49 hospitalisations and 38 medical evacuations due Covid cases and similar illnesses.

One person died after testing positive while on a cruise.

The agency said in its report: “The resumption of passenger voyages in the US has led to the introduction and sustained transmission of COVID-19 among cruise ships, despite high vaccination rates among both crew and passengers.”

Royal Caribbean said passengers and crew members aboard the Symphony of the Seas ship were immediately isolated to prevent the spread of infection.

But the cruise line said most positive cases were either asymptomatic or only experiencing mild symptoms.

Earlier this month, there were at least 17 passengers and crew members who tested positive for COVID-19 aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship that docked in New Orleans, USA.

The Louisiana Department of Health said it was suspected that at least one of the infected crew members had contracted the new Omicron variant.

And some passengers claimed they were not even alerted about the outbreak while they were on board.

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Passenger Frank Sousla told NBC: “I mean, they tested everybody yesterday, but they didn’t tell us.

“I found out on Facebook, and I think it’s extremely irresponsible.”

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