The Mexican Secretary of Health for the Eighth Health Region blocked the HAL Koningsdam from disembarking any of its 1,137 guests or 873 crew members into the port of Puerto Vallarta yesterday due to a COVID-19 outbreak involving at least nineteen of  its crew members.

The HAL cruise ship arrived at Puerto Vallarta yesterday but reportedly left port after two hours after no one was permitted off the ship. There were initially a swirl of rumors in the Mexican port suggesting this was due to a COVID-19 outbreak involving either passengers and / or crew members on the ship. Later, it slowly leaked out that there were, in fact, a number of crew members infected with the virus.

A media source in Mexico, Rodrigo López Becerril, reported on his Facebook page today that:

“To avoid the risk of infection to the population and the passengers itself, the Secretary of HEALTH JALISCO through the Eighth Health Region, prevented passengers and crew of the KONINGSDAM cruise from landing in Puerto Vallarta, after that an active outbreak of COVID-19 was detected in the boat, possibly of the ÓMICRON variant reported Dr. Jaime ÁLVAREZ ZAYAS, Director of the state dependency.

It is reported that at one start there were THREE crew members who were positive for COVID, and the next day SIX, and the next NENEENEEN, that is called an active outbreak.

In this sense, Dr. Jaime Alvarez Zayas reported that the outbreak that was made on the boat was possibly from the Omicron variant.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has  already indicated from a prior cruise that reported cases of COVID-19 have met the threshold for CDC investigation.

This HAL ship is one of many cruise ships which have experienced recent significant COVID-19 outbreaks, including the Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas (48 infected) and Odyssey of the Seas (55 infected), and Jewel of the Seas (14 infected), NCL’s Norwegian Breakaway (20 infected), Carnival’s Carnival Freedom (Carnival refuses to disclose number of infected), Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 (10 infected). and MSC’s MSC Seashore (28 Infected). We are also investigating reports that there are 30 infected on Princess” Ruby Princess. There are over seventy U.S. based cruise ships which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently is investigating or monitoring for COVID-19 as reflected on the CDC’s COVID-19 color report.

The public should expect these types of outbreaks to steadily increase as the Omicron variant continues to spread.

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December 24 2021 Afternoon Update: “Koningsdam are stuck on cruise ship as Mexico refuses to allow them to disembark after 21 crew test positive for COVID-19:”

  • A total of 1,035 passengers aboard a Holland America Line cruise ship were not allowed to disembark in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on Thursday
  • Mexican authorities turned the MS Koningsdam away from the resort city of Puerto Vallarta after 21 crew members tested positive for COVID-19
  • The ship sailed from San Diego on Sunday, making stops in Cabo San Luca on Tuesday and Mazatlán on Wednesday
  • Paulette Laussane York shared a photo of Puerto Vallarta’s beach shore on Thursday and said that the cruise ship was returning to the sea
  • The ship, according to an itinerary shared by passenger Beverly Carver-Percival, suggests they were expected to return to San Diego on Sunday.

December 25, 2021 Update: HAL refuses to acknowledge the number of crew infected (at least 21 at this point) but is admitting only what is characterizing as a “small number” of infected crew members,  This is the style of Carnval Corporation-owned cruise lines, like HAL, which characterize all COVID-19 outbreaks as limited to a “small number” whatever that actual number may be.

Image credits: HAL’s Koningsdam: top – kees torn – CC BY-SA 2.0, commons / wikimedia.