The local government imposed new restrictions on the cruise ships' arrival, as a result of the rebound by COVID. The new rule obligates all guests and crew wishing to disembark in Puerto Rico to have a negative molecular/antigen test, not older than 2 days (48 hours) prior to disembarking in Puerto Rico, according to the letter from December 26, sent by the Puerto Rico Department of Health.
It comes out that the largest cruise ship in the world operated by Royal Caribbean was the first victim of the rules implemented just a day before, with no time to react.
The Department of Health said strict measures were necessary as soon as possible:
“Puerto Rico, like the rest of the world, is experiencing an increase in cases due to the introduction of the omicron variant. Currently, Puerto Rico has a 21.7% positivity rate in molecular tests and an incidence of 372 cases per 100.000 inhabitants, which places us at a high level of transmission.“
In addition to the rule, it is stated that all guests and crew in close contact with the positive cases will also not be allowed to disembark, regardless of their vaccination status.
48 positive cases were confirmed onboard Symphony OTS during the recent 8-day Caribbean roundtrip from PortMiami (Florida USA) on December 23.
For more Symphony of the Seas incidents and accidents see the ship's CruiseMinus page.