New cruises in Brazil suspended amid spread of omicron | Health, Med. & Fitness

Cruise ship activity has been temporarily suspended along Brazil’s shores until Jan. 21 due to the spread of the coronavirus’ omicron variant, according to a statement the federal government published Monday night.

The decision came after a recommendation from the nation’s health regulator, which said in a separate statement Monday night that it took into account the “spiraling increase of COVID-19 cases on board ships in recent days, which indicates a radical change in the epidemiological scenario.”

The agency highlighted an “accentuated explosion” starting Dec. 26, with almost 800 cases detected on cruise ships in just nine days — 25 times the total seen over the prior 55 days and likely stemming from spread of the omicron variant, it said.

Members of the government met with representatives of the cruise companies earlier Monday, according to the federal government’s statement. A statement from the Brazilian office of the Cruise Lines International Association said the suspension was a voluntary measure adopted by the companies as a means to align themselves with federal government, the health regulator, states and municipalities.

Its statement said no new departures will take place until Jan. 21, but that ongoing cruises will finish their itineraries as planned. Cruise lines MSC Cruzeiros and Costa Cruzeiros operate in Brazil.

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