MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico on Tuesday allowed a cruise ship to dock and disembark tourists in spite of an outbreak of COVID-19 on board, as the government vowed to keep the country open to cruise vessels provided sanitary precautions are met.
The ship, Ms Zuiderdam, with some 2,000 passengers and crew, docked in the port of Guaymas in the northern state of state of Sonora, state and federal authorities said.
In a statement, the Mexican government said it would accept cruise ships that sought permission to dock as long as World Health Organization international regulations are followed.
People infected with COVID-19 on cruise ships who need medical attention will receive it, and milder or asymptomatic cases will be isolated from others on board, it added.
Holland America Line, which operates the Zuiderdam, said in a statement that a small number of fully vaccinated crew and passengers on Zuiderdam had tested positive for COVID-19.
All showed mild or no symptoms and are in isolation, while their close contacts have been quarantined, it added.
Zuiderdam is on a 10-day cruise and would return to San Diego as scheduled on Jan. 2, the statement said.
Sonora health minister Jose Luis Alomia told a news conference 30 people had tested COVID-19 positive on the Zuiderdam – 28 crew and two passengers – and were in isolation.
Around 400 people had disembarked from the vessel during the morning after proceeding through sanitary filters set up to identify suspected cases of infection, Alomia said.
The minister said there were some 1,200 passengers and almost 800 crew on board the Zuiderdam.
The government of Mexico, whose economy relies substantially on visitors from abroad for foreign exchange income, has been determined to keep the country open during the pandemic, imposing relatively few restrictions on tourism.
(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Sandra Maler)