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Two passengers on Celebrity Millennium cruise test positive for COVID-19


Two passengers on Celebrity Millennium cruise test positive for COVID-19
The Celebrity Millennium at the Port of Bridgetown, June 7, 2021. (Picture by Lennox Devonish)

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Two guests aboard the first major sea cruise hosting Americans since the pandemic halted the industry have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) in required end-of-cruise testing, the cruise line said Thursday.

The two guests, who shared a stateroom on the seven-day Celebrity Millennium cruise from St Maarten, are asymptomatic, in isolation and being monitored by a medical team, Celebrity Cruise Lines said in a news release.

On Monday the Celebrity Millennium docked in Barbados for the first time in 15 months and was welcomed by officials, including Minister of Tourism Senator Lisa Cummins, Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey, officials in the tourism sector and management of the Port of Bridgetown.

Vice-president of destination development at the Royal Caribbean Group, Joshua Carroll, said the visit was one way of repaying Barbados for the “humanitarian” assistance given to several cruise lines at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a news release relating to the positive COVID cases, the cruise line said: “We are conducting contact tracing, expediting testing for all close contacts and closely monitoring the situation.”

The ship set sail Saturday “with fully vaccinated crew and guests and following comprehensive protocols that align with our destination partners and exceed CDC guidelines to protect the health and safety of our guests,” the release said.

So-called “breakthrough” coronavirus cases, in which people get infected after vaccination, are expected. Such cases result in milder Covid-19 illness than in unvaccinated people, a US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention study published this week shows.

Fully vaccinated people are more than 90 per cent protected against infection, with partially vaccinated people 81 per cent less likely to become infected than those who haven’t been inoculated, according to the ongoing study of essential workers who got Pfizer/BioNTech’s or Moderna’s vaccine.

Those in the study who got breakthrough infections after one or two doses had 40 per cent less virus in their bodies and were 58 per cent less likely to have fever. They spent two fewer days in bed than unvaccinated COVID-19 patients.

Guests had to show negative Covid-19 tests

All guests aboard the Celebrity Millennium cruise – with port stops in Barbados, Aruba and Curaçao – were required to show vaccination proof and a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departing St Maarten on Saturday, the release said.

About 500 passengers were on board, with over 95 per cent fully vaccinated. Children who could not yet receive vaccinations were required to show negative COVID-19 tests.

Details of the two COVID-positive passengers’ vaccinations were not immediately known.

“This situation demonstrates that our rigorous health and safety protocols work to protect our crew, guests and the communities we visit,” the news release said.

The Royal Caribbean Group, the parent company of Celebrity Cruise Lines, said Monday that returning to Barbados “for the first time in over a year is truly special”.

“Every measured step was taken to ensure that we protect the health and safety of our guests, crew and the residents of this treasured destination and we are thankful,” its Twitter post said. (CNN)