A “small number” of crew members aboard the Queen Elizabeth cruise liner tested positive according to Cunard, BBC News reported yesterday.
The Cunard ship had “about 800” crew members aboard at the time of the test said the British cruise company. Exactly what a “small number” means is anyone’s guess.
According to @BBCWorld, Cunard says a "small number" of crew tested positive for #COVID19 on @cunardline #QueenElizabeth https://t.co/Uj4cEcywD5 so for a #cruise ship with "about 800" crew members, exactly how many is a "small number?" 3, 5, 9, 12, 15? pic.twitter.com/sMU7tLM3bC
— James (Jim) Walker (@CruiseLaw) July 6, 2021
I tweeted with a discerning cruise fan in Britain who raised the issue whether Cunard has had all of its crew members on the Queen Elizabeth vaccinated yet.
= yet all passengers must be fully vaccinated when their cruises resume 19 July to 1 October 2021!!!
— David Thomas (@djthomashome) July 6, 2021
The Queen Elizabeth is currently moored off the coast of Dorcet.
Cunard says that it is working with the Southampton Port Health to “successfully contain the situation” by putting in place its “approved isolation protocols.”
ITV reports that a Cunard spokesperson said: “We have comprehensive health and wellbeing procedures in place to protect all on board, which have been developed with guidance from our global medical, public health and industry experts and in close coordination with Government departments.”
Whatever Cunard’s new health protocols may be, it seems reckless at this late date not to have a fully vaccinated crew within 14 days of resuming cruise operations with guests.
According to the Cunard website, Cunard resumes operations on July 19, 2021 as the Queen Elizabeth will sail with guests on board for a series of UK “British Isles” voyages from Southampton. Beginning on October 13, 2021, the ship will resume sailing internationally with voyages to the Iberian coast and the Canary Islands.
Since cruising was shut down in March of 2020 (and without considering the unknown number of of Cunard crew cases reported here), there have been 239 cases of COVID-19 on cruise ships in Europe. You can read about the prior cases here and here. The last COVID-19 cruise line case we mentioned involved the death last week of a senior officer, here in the U.S., who was employed by Carnival Cruise Line.
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Photo Credit: Pjotr Mahhonin – CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.
July 7, 2021 Update:
USA Today: “‘We have detected a small number of Covid-19 cases amongst crew members joining Queen Elizabeth,’ Cunard president Simon Palethorpe told USA TODAY in a statement.
Cunard did not share medical details of the crew, including whether they had been vaccinated. The BBC reported that the ship has about 800 crew members on board. According to Cunard’s website, the Queen Elizabeth can carry just over 2,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members.
According to government guidance, only domestic cruises are allowed in the U.K. during its third step in the path to cruising’s resumption after it was shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic last year. By July 19, the U.K. is expected to reach its fourth step, lifting social distancing and capacity restrictions. Right now, only up to 1,000 passengers, or 50% of capacity, are allowed on board domestic cruises – limit that doesn’t apply to the crew.”