Six Royal Caribbean cruise ship passengers test positive for COVID-19

Six Royal Caribbean cruise ship passengers test positive for COVID-19
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Six passengers on a Royal Caribbean cruise that departed the Bahamas last weekend have tested positive for COVID-19, including four guests who were fully vaccinated, the cruise line confirmed to The Hill. 

Royal Caribbean said in a statement that “four of the guests” on its Adventure of the Seas ship who were not part of the same party are vaccinated, while "three are asymptomatic and one has mild symptoms.” 

"Two of the guests, who are in the same traveling party, are unvaccinated minors and asymptomatic,” the company added, noting that all of the infected guests “were immediately quarantined” and all close contacts were traced and tested negative for the virus.

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The cruise line learned of the infections “during routine testing required of all guests before returning home,” adding that “each guest and their immediate travel parties disembarked in Freeport, The Bahamas, and separately traveled home via private transportation.” 

Royal Caribbean said that all travelers age 16 and older aboard its Adventure of the Seas ship, which departed from the Bahamas’ capital of Nassau on Saturday, are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and must produce a negative test before boarding. 

The company, which said all of its crew is fully vaccinated, explained that children not eligible yet to receive the vaccine must also test negative before boarding the ship.

Royal Caribbean spokesperson Lyan Sierra-Caro told USA Today that others who remain on the ship, including 1,182 passengers and 900 crew members, will not have to undergo a quarantining period before the cruise is set to officially wrap up Saturday.

Freeport, where the ship is currently docked, is home to several activities and excursions that many passengers leave the ship to enjoy. 

The cases come as just some of the latest reported as cruise ships attempt to get back to the seas following a no-sail period during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been attempting to impose safety regulations on ships, though a federal judge last month ruled the CDC cannot enforce its conditional sail order imposing COVID-19 restrictions on cruise lines.

The ruling resulted from a lawsuit brought by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisFlorida makes quarantine optional for students exposed to COVID-19 Florida Republican files abortion bill similar to Texas's The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - House Democrats plagued by Biden agenda troubles MORE (R) and marked a win for cruise lines that lobbied to lift coronavirus-era sailing rules.

However, the CDC earlier this month appealed the judge’s order, arguing that it “creates a substantial risk that cruise ships will exacerbate the introduction and spread of the virus in the United States.”

The appeal has since been denied, with a three-judge panel arguing that the CDC "failed to demonstrate an entitlement to a stay pending appeal."