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Crewmember on New Orleans Norwegian cruise suspected of having Omicron variant

The cruise line said that the crew member was in isolation for the entirety of the cruise.

NEW ORLEANS — Norwegian Cruise Line said Monday that a South African crewmember aboard a roundtrip cruise from New Orleans is suspected to have the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

The crew member was one of 17 cases of COVID-19 that were detected aboard the Norwegian Breakaway which disembarked at the Port of New Orleans on Sunday. The cruise line said that the crew member was in isolation for the entirety of the cruise, and the Louisiana Department of Health said that the individual did not leave the ship.

Ten of the cases were reported before the ship arrived in New Orleans. Seven additional cases were detected after the ship disembarked. A spokesperson for the cruise line told WWL-TV that all cases were asymptomatic.

"In addition to requiring that 100% of guests and crew are fully vaccinated, per the Company’s comprehensive health and safety protocols, we have implemented quarantine, isolation, and contact tracing procedures for identified cases," the cruise line spokesperson wrote in a statement. "We are testing all individuals on Norwegian Breakaway prior to disembarkation, as well as providing post-exposure and quarantine public health guidance by the CDC."

The ship left the Port of New Orleans on Nov. 28 and voyaged to Belize, Honduras, and Mexico with more than 3,200 people on board.

The Norwegian Breakaway left New Orleans on Sunday night for a new cruise. All guests sailing on the Dec. 5 voyage were allowed to cancel their trip without penalty, the company says. Guests that opted to sail must wear masks while indoors except while actively eating or drinking and will be tested twice during the cruise. The cruise will now not stop in Costa Maya due to embarkation delays in New Orleans.

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