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2 Passengers Test Positive for COVID-19 on Fully Vaccinated Cruise Ship

Two people onboard a Celebrity Cruises ship of reportedly fully vaccinated passengers and crew have tested positive for COVID-19. This latest COVID-19 cruise incident occurred on a weeklong Caribbean cruise that set sail from the island of St. Maarten on Saturday, June 5—the first return voyage for Celebrity and one of the first North American…

Two individuals onboard a Celebrity Cruises ship of allegedly completely vaccinated passengers and crew have tested positive for COVID-19. This latest COVID-19 cruise incident occurred on a weeklong Caribbean cruise that set sail from the island of St. Maarten on Saturday, June 5–the first return holiday for Celebrity and among the very first North American plantations in over a year, the company says. 

The two travelers obtained a positive result during mandatory end-of-cruise testing before the Celebrity Millennium returns to port in St. Maarten on Saturday, June 12, according to a Thursday, June 10 statement from the Royal Caribbean Group (parent firm of Celebrity Cruises). Both passengers, who had been discussing a stateroom, are asymptomatic, remaining isolation, and also being tracked by the ship’s medical staff, the cruise line says. Celebrity is also conducting contact tracing and expedited testing for close contacts of both passengers. 

The Royal Caribbean Group didn’t affirm the vaccination status of the two infected individuals, but according to their statement all guests aboard the ship were required to demonstrate proof of vaccination prior to boarding, as well as a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before the ship set sail. 

While the announcement says that”Celebrity Millennium is sailing with fully vaccinated crew and guests,” that this does not automatically include kids under the age of 16. According to the Celebrity Cruises page on safety and health,”All guests 16 years and older must be fully vaccinated with all COVID-19 vaccine doses administered at least 14 days prior to sailing,” and”unvaccinated children will be required to take a complimentary test at the terminal” prior to boarding. (Starting August 1, all Celebrity Cruises passengers ages 12 and over must be completely vaccinated, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for kids as young as 12, as well as the expectation that the agency may give the Moderna vaccine an identical authorization from the coming weeks.)

Although cruise boat passengers are required to follow local mandates at destination interfaces (in Aruba, Curaçao, and Barbados), masks weren’t needed once onboard the Millennium, according to a June 5 press release in Celebrity. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) mask arrangement remains in effect within the U.S., the CDC has also given cruise ship operators the discretion to inform passengers and crew they do not have to wear masks or maintain physical space anywhere on the ship–as long as 95% of team members and 95percent of passengers are fully vaccinated. And while Celebrity did not disclose the Millennium’s capacity rate, the company says its ships are”sailing with fewer guests for more space.”

While it is not exactly clear what occurred in this situation, we shouldn’t be surprised to see more similar COVID-19 cruise tales as the hard-hit industry creates its comeback. Breakthrough COVID-19 diseases in completely vaccinated people are very rare but expected, as SELF has reported. In May, the CDC published statistics showing that from 101 million people who were fully vaccinated by the end of April, just 10,262 breakthrough infections were identified–a post-vaccination breakthrough rate of 0. 01%. ) Among these instances, 27% were 10% required hospitalization, and 2 percent resulted in death.

Celebrity Cruises can be set to create its initial departure from U.S. waters later this season. The Washington Post reports a fully vaccinated boat operating at reduced capacity is scheduled to leave from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on June 26, after receiving approval to do so in the CDC. 

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