All eyes were on the first cruise ship to resume operations in the Caribbean and it wasn’t the outcome SeaDream 1 had hoped for.
7 passengers have tested positive for COVID-19 on the small ship that was carrying only 53 passengers. SeaDream Yacht Club had been successfully sailing the SeaDream 1 in Norway for months without a single case of COVID-19 before crossing the Atlantic to start its season in the Caribbean.
What was supposed to be a positive sign for the cruise industry turned to disaster after multiple passengers tested positive for the virus.
The SeaDream 1’s first cruise in the Caribbean was being extensively covered by bloggers and news journalists onboard. It was the first demonstration of a cruise ship in the western world that showed the safety protocols that have been put into place to prevent COVID-19.
The measures included multiple tests prior to boarding along with regular testing on board showing how cruising could resume during the pandemic.
Even with all the testing in place, somehow the virus still managed to find its way onboard the vessel.
The first passenger fell ill on wednesday forcing the ship to return to its home port of Barbados. By the time it had arrived and everyone on board was tested, a total of 7 people had already been infected.
“After completing a successful summer season in Norway, we implemented even stricter health and safety protocols for our Barbados winter season. All guests were tested twice prior to embarkation and we are in the process of re-testing guests.” said SeaDream’s Andreas Brynestad said in a press release.
“We are working closely with local health and government authorities to resolve this situation in the best possible way. Our main priority is the health and safety of our crew, guests, and the communities we visit.”
All the passengers and crew are now quarantined in their staterooms out of an abundance of caution.
According to Gene Sloan from The Points Guy, who is onboard the ship in quarantine, reported that passengers who have repeatedly tested negative will be allowed to disembark the ship on Saturday and return home.
The seven passengers who tested positive will be quarantined in Barbados.
“It’s not a great development for the cruise industry,” Sloan told CNN via email on Wednesday from his cabin on board. “I think the hope had been that the rigorous testing that SeaDream was doing would keep Covid off its ship.”
The seven people who tested positive include a family of 5 who were staying in the same cabins and a husband and wife who shared a cabin.
The Barbados government is asking its citizens to remain calm and that their health is not at risk from the infected passengers.
“There is absolutely no compromise from our perspective in terms of public health compromising, so there is nothing at all for Barbadians to be worried about,” said Health and Wellness Minister Jeffrey Bostic in a radio interview.
“I can’t speak for the cruise ship and I don’t want to be able to do that, but I can safely say that we are assisting like we have been doing all the time and that assistance is being provided through the Dos Santos Lab doing the testing and the isolation facility at Harrison Point at this time has one person and we will continue to assist, we have the capacity to do so,”
Harrison also stated that all individuals still remain on the vessel except for “one person who needed some medical attention” and was transferred to Harrison Point Isolation Facility.
Barbados has only reported 249 cases and 7 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
The news comes at a precarious time for the cruise industry as Royal Caribbean had just announced that they were looking for volunteers to take part in test sailings and had received thousands of applications.
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