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Covid-19 cases rise aboard first cruise to resume sailing in the Caribbean

Published 14 November 2020

Buckie Got It,

Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis News Source

(CNN) — So far a total of seven passengers have tested positive for Covid-19 aboard the SeaDream 1 cruise ship docked in Barbados, according to two passengers on the ship.Passengers who have tested negative for the virus will be able to leave the ship and travel home, Gene Sloan and Ben Hewitt told CNN on Friday. They are both among a handful of cruise journalists and bloggers on board.

The SeaDream Yacht Club cruise was the first to return to the Caribbean since the coronavirus pandemic shut operations down in March and was meant to demonstrate that increased safety protocols, including regular testing aboard the ship, could allow cruise voyages to take place during the pandemic. Instead one passenger fell ill on Wednesday, forcing the SeaDream 1 to return to Barbados, where all 53 passengers and 66 crew were tested. Hewitt said the crew had informed passengers that everyone who had tested negative twice would be allowed to disembark the ship and fly home on Saturday. SeaDream Yacht Club said in a news release Thursday afternoon that “guests” had received “assumptive positive” results to preliminary rapid Covid tests, but did not specify the number who had done so. CNN has asked SeaDream to confirm the exact number of positive results.”We are working closely with local health and government authorities to resolve this situation in the best possible way,” said SeaDream’s Andreas Brynestad, in the SeaDream release.

Intercom announcement of positive test result

Sloan, who is a senior reporter for cruise and travel at The Points Guy, reported that the Covid scare started when the captain informed passengers of the preliminary positive test over the ship’s intercom system shortly before lunchtime on Wednesday.Passengers were instructed to return to their cabins and remain isolated there, he said.The ship, which was in the Grenadines at the time of the first preliminary positive test, docked in Barbados Wednesday evening.”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.”

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