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Coronavirus: 27 people aboard Carnival cruise ship test positive for COVID-19

Twenty-seven people onboard a Carnival Cruise Line ship that stopped this week in Belize City tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Belize Tourism Board.

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Officials said they learned of the cases, reported in 26 ship crew members and one passenger, before the Carnival Vista docked in Belize on Wednesday. The ship, which originally departed from Galveston, Texas, is carrying 2,895 guests and 1,441 crew members, according to the Belize Tourism Board.

Officials said the people who tested positive for COVID-19 have been isolated and that contact tracing has found no additional cases. They described most cases as asymptomatic or mild.

Officials with Carnival told the Houston Chronicle last week that the cruise line had confirmed a “small number” of cases onboard the Vista, although they did not specify how many people had taken ill. The outbreak is among the largest reported since cruise ships resumed sailing last month following a long pause prompted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to The Washington Post.

>> Related: Carnival Cruise Line to restart select US cruises in July, will require COVID-19 vaccines

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have investigated the cases. As of Friday, the vessel “remains under observation,” according to the CDC.

Belizean officials said 99.98% of the Carnival Vista’s crew is vaccinated, as are 96.5% of passengers.

Carnival Cruise Lines resumed sailings from Galveston on July 3 with the requirement that guests be fully vaccinated. Last month, officials said they would allow some unvaccinated guests on board ships, including children under the age of 12, with pre-cruise and pre-embarkation testing requirements, along with an additional fee to cover the costs of COVID-19 testing and other health measures.

>> Related: Coronavirus: Carnival to restart vaccinated-only sailings of 7 ships from US ports this fall

Carnival officials said last week that guests will be required to wear masks in certain indoor spaces on the company’s cruise ships for sailings beginning on Aug. 7. Officials also announced that vaccinated guests will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test ahead of boarding, beginning on sailings scheduled Saturday.

“These new requirements are being implemented to protect our guests and crew while on board, and to continue to provide confidence to our homeports and destinations that we are doing our part to support their efforts to protect public health and safety,” Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy said in a statement. “We expect these requirements will be temporary and appreciate the cooperation of our guests.”

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