More than 1,000 American passengers will spend Christmas Day stuck aboard a cruise ship after authorities in the western Mexico state of Jalisco blocked them from disembarking because 21 crew members have tested positive for COVID-19.
The Holland America Line ship sailed off from San Diego on Sunday with stops in the Mexican resort cities of Los Cabos and Mazatlán before it arrived on the coast of Puerto Vallarta on Thursday at approximately 7.30am.
The Jalisco state health department considered allowing each of the 1,035 passengers off the MS Koningsdam, which has at least 873 crew, as long as they turned in proof of negative COVID-19 tests, Mexican news outlet Milenio reported.
But, officials soon did a u-turn over fears that the outbreak could have spread further than the 21 infected crew members.
'This option was discarded because the health protocols indicate that no one could disembark when positive cases were registered on the boat, so the decision was finally made not to disembark,' the health department said in a statement.
The decision has frustrated passengers, with one, Paulette Laussane York, snapping a photo of the port city's beach shoreline.
'Puerto Vallarta from our veranda,' she wrote on Facebook. 'Mexican authorities won't let anyone off our cruise ship, Koningsdam. Some crew members (fully vaccinated) tested positive for Covid. Ship is headed back out to sea.'
Beverly Carver-Percival (left) and Paulette Laussane York (right) share details of their experience aboard a cruise ship that was turned away from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on Thursday when 21 crew members registered positive COVID-19 tests
Paulette Laussane York took to Facebook on Thursday to share a photo of the shore of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, after health officials there refused to allow 1,035 passengers aboard Holland America Line's MS Koningsdam to disembark because 21 crew members had tested positive for COVID-19. Puerto Vallarta was the third and last stop of the cruise trip that took vacationers from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlán
Figures from Johns Hopkins University published Friday show there were 261,339 new cases in the last 24 hours, up 10 per cent from 238,378 the day before.