More than 3,000 passengers aboard a cruise ship carrying 69 people infected with COVID were reportedly blocked for disembarking by Carnival Cruise Line after health officials in the western Mexico state of Jalisco requested negative tests for all traveler who sought to leave the liner.
Mexico news outlet Milenio reported on Tuesday that the Jalisco state health department made the request after the Carnival Panorama docked in the Pacific resort city of Puerto Vallarta on Monday around 9:00 a.m local time.
The health department decision to allow the non-infected passengers to disembark only came after the Mexican government’s Health and Tourism ministries agreed earlier this week to allow vacationers off the ship in accordance with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Health Regulations.
In a statement to DailyMail.com, a Carnival Cruise Line spokesperson did not confirm or deny whether the company had stopped uninfected passengers from leaving the ship.
‘In our conversations with Mexican officials, they acknowledged that we have implemented vigorous protocols, including vaccine, testing and mask requirements for guests and crew, but they are concerned about their ability to manage the Omicron variant given low vaccination rates amongst local residents,” the Carnival Cruise Line spokesperson said.
‘We are also frequently testing our crew, even when asymptomatic. A positive case of a crew member results in their isolation, as well as quarantine for their close contacts, so that we can actively manage public health on board. We have had no incidents of crew requiring escalated medical attention or hospitalization.’
Mexico news outlet Milenio reported that more than 3,000 passengers on the Carnival Panorama weren’t allowed to leave the ship in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. At least 69 COVID-19 cases were detected within passengers and crew members. Health officials said it would permit passengers with negative tests to but Carnival Cruise Line said no, Milenio reported
Instagram user dr_alavi_1906 shared a photo from the Carnival Panorama on Christmas Day. The ship sailed from Long Beach, California, on December 24 but has encountered problems docking in the Mexican cities of Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán due to a COVID-19 outbreak
Milenio reported that the Carnival Panorama remained at the port until 10:00 p.m. before returning to sea.
Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy informed the Carnival Panorama’s 3,425 guests on Tuesday morning that the ship would continue on to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, where it is expected to arrive Wednesday.
The liner departed from Long Beach, California on December 24 for a seven-day voyage that included stops in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco; Mazatlán, Sinaloa; and finally Cabo San Lucas before returning to the Long Beach on Friday.
While Carnival Cruise Line refused to say how many passengers have tested positive for COVID-19, it did say that the guests and those traveling in their party are in isolation, per protocols that have been approved by the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC).
Carson, California, resident Rudy Castanon took to Facebook to share his dismay with not being allowed off the ship on what he said was his first-ever cruise.
‘We can not get off the ship here in Puerto Vallarta due to a few cases of Covid discovered today (Monday) on our ship,’ he wrote. ‘We will not be able to get off at any of our ports. This is my first cruise, and it is not working out. I pray not too many people get sick.’
A travel blogger named Nicole, who is on the Carnival Panorama with her mother also wrote on Facebook: ‘This is obviously disappointing — we were looking forward to exploring PV (Puerto Vallarta) again — but by no means surprising. This is the nature and risk of cruising right now, so it is what it is — an extra ‘sea day’ for us!’
Rudy Castanon, who is aboard the Carnival Panorama, shared the upsetting news that he and other passengers could not disembark in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, after crew members and passengers had tested positive for COVID-19
A travel blogger named Nicole took to Facebook to share scenic photos of the Puerto Vallarta coast, pictured, after her cruise ship was not allowed to disembark its passengers after 30 crew members showed positive COVID-19 tests on Monday
Passenger has his temperature taken after the Holland America Line’s MS Zuiderman in Guaymas, Sonora, on Tuesday after 37 people tested positive for the coronavirus
In a separate incident, Mexican officials in Guaymas, Sonora, permitted passengers to disembark Tuesday from the Holland America Line’s MS Zuiderman after 37 people tested positive for the coronavirus.
Video footage showed passengers having their temperatures taken by a health worker as they stepped off the liner.
Sonora state health minister Dr. José Luis Alomia Zegorra indicated that the presence of the passengers did not pose a risk at all.
“Let us remember that COVID-19 is present in Sonora, in Guaymas, throughout Mexico,” he said. ‘Therefore, it is not a disease that, because it comes from abroad, represents a different risk from the one we already have.’
The cruise ship was expected to stop in Topolobampo, Sinaloa, but officials there have already said that it will not be allowed to dock at its port.
The liner, with a capacity for 1,848 passengers and 842 crew members, sailed from San Diego on December 23 and its itinerary includes stops in the Baja California Sur cities of Cabo San Lucas, Pichilingue (La Paz), and Loreto. It also had stops in Guaymas as well as the Sinaloa town of Mazatlán. The ship returns to returning to San Diego on January 2.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week it was investigating 68 cruise liners following COVID outbreaks.
The CDC maintains a list of 108 operating cruise liners on its website, categorizing them based on how many cases of COVID-19 have been reported onboard. Passengers on U.S.-based cruise liners must wear masks in public areas and present proof of vaccination.