5 people just tested positive for coronavirus on the first Caribbean cruise since the pandemic began

  • The first major cruise in the Caribbean set sail this week: SeaDream Yacht Club's SeaDream 1.
  • Despite strict pre-departure coronavirus testing guidelines, five passengers aboard the ship have tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Since the first passenger tested positive, the ship has docked in Barbados and its passengers are on lockdown.
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The first major cruise to embark in the Caribbean since the coronavirus pandemic halted travel in March has a major issue: Five of its passengers have been diagnosed positive for the virus.

On Wednesday, the ship's captain announced the first case to the 55 passengers and 66 crew members aboard SeaDream Yacht Club's SeaDream 1, according to The Points Guy's Gene Sloan. Sloan is aboard the ship currently, which is docked in Barbados and locked down.

"We have been told that health authorities today will be testing close contacts to the passenger or passengers who have tested positive for covid, and maybe everyone," he said on Twitter on Thursday morning. "A letter late last night said we would be confined to our cabins at least until results get back, which could be up to 24 hours."

The ship was scheduled to travel in the Caribbean, the world's most popular cruise destination. Passengers were required to get tested for coronavirus several days prior to boarding, again on the day of boarding, and yet again several days later, according to Sloan.

After the first diagnosis, several other cases aboard the ship were confirmed. Five people aboard the ship have tested positive for coronavirus thus far, according to CNN's Ana Cabrera.

Read more: Shipwrecked: How Carnival's high hopes for 2020 gave way to 'floating petri dishes,' stranded crew members, and a spate of COVID-19 deaths at sea

It is unclear what the next steps are, and a press inquiry sent to SeaDream went unanswered as of Thursday afternoon. When cruises resumed in Europe this summer, similar issues arose with staff and passenger infections.

When the coronavirus pandemic first halted travel back in March, the cruise industry was flattened overnight, and a handful of cruise ships became floating coronavirus hotspots, further hurting an already bruised business. For much of 2020, cruise ships have been docked and travel hasn't been allowed. Starting in early November the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines for cruises to operate once again. 

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