COVID-19 infections are prompting foreign governments to deny cruise ship passengers permission to leave the ship to visit their country.
Passengers and crews aboard the MS Koningsdam left Puerto Vallarta soon after it entered the port in the Western Mexico state of Jalisco. State Health Department officials forbade disembarking after learning 21 crew members aboard the liner tested positive for COVID-19.
The Koningsdam began its cruise in San Diego, California Dec. 19 with 874 crew and 1,035 passengers, according to the Mexican news outlet Sinembargo. The cruise ship reportedly made scheduled stops in Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan before arriving at Puerto Vallarta on Dec. 23. One crew member reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 but it is unclear if that crew member stayed behind. Regardless, testing revealed almost two dozen crew were infected by Thursday.
“Through onboard testing, we have confirmed that a small number of fully-vaccinated crew on Koningsdam tested positive for COVID-19,” Holland America said in a statement. “All are showing mild or no symptoms and are in isolation.”
The cruise line added that close contacts have been quarantined out of an abundance of caution.
The ship was expected to return to San Diego Sunday, according to an NBC News report.
“All guests must be fully vaccinated and provide a negative viral COVID-19 test result taken within the 2 days before sailing,” the cruise line informs passengers on their website. “If you’re required to take a test before you return to your home country, we’ll provide one for you at no charge.”
Holland America further requires all passengers, regardless of age, to always wear face masks in all interior spaces of the ships, except while eating or drinking. The mask mandate does not apply to passenger staterooms.
It remains to be seen if cruise ship passengers will be forced to stay aboard the cruise ship, much like the infected passengers of cruise ships who were stranded last year.
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