Cruise ship with COVID-19 infections docks in New Orleans

A Norwegian Cruise Line ship arrived in New Orleans on Sunday with several passengers and crew members who had contracted COVID-19.

The Norwegian Breakaway departed from New Orleans on Nov. 28 and made stops in Belize, Honduras and Mexico, the Louisiana Department of Health said

The Louisiana Department of Health, which is working alongside the cruise line, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and others to manage the outbreak, said at least 10 people tested positive for the virus. More than 3,200 people were on the ship.

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In a statement, Norwegian Cruise Line said all of the cases of COVID-19 were asymptomatic.

"We have identified a handful of COVID-19 cases among guests and crew onboard Norwegian Breakaway," the statement added.  

"We are testing all individuals on Norwegian Breakaway prior to disembarkation, as well as providing post-exposure and quarantine public health guidance by the CDC," the statement also said.

The cruise line said passengers who tested positive would take their personal vehicles to their private residences or "self-isolate in accommodations provided by the company."

Some passengers on the ship said they were unaware of the outbreak until asked about it by a reporter. Others said they were informed of the positive cases while on board, according to WVUE, a local Fox affiliate in New Orleans.

Passengers said they had been tested for COVID-19 on Saturday before leaving the ship on Sunday. The cruise line also provided them with take-home rapid tests upon leaving the ship, WVUE reported.

The company requires its passengers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and said that its current schedule of departures remained unchanged. The ship that recently returned with the positive cases is scheduled to leave for another trip Sunday evening, according to The Associated Press

The Louisiana Department of Health added in a tweet on Sunday that the state had confirmed its first case of the omicron variant.