A major cruise line operator has brought mask mandates back for its cruise lines sailing in and around Australia amid a rise in COVID-19 transmission the country.
The change applies to “all Carnival Corporation brand ships operating in Australia and the region as an additional safeguard in light of the current rate of covid-19 in the general community,” Carnival Australia said in an emailed statement Friday. That includes lines such as Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line.
Passengers and crew members have to wear masks at all times inside unless they are eating or drinking. They must also wear masks outside when they cannot socially distance and “when on company transfers (tenders and buses),” Carnival Australia said.
Guests must also wear masks when embarking and disembarking.
Guests over the age of 12 must also be fully vaccinated for sailings in the Australian region, though the company allows for a small number of medical exemptions. All passengers need to take a COVID test prior to boarding, among other health and safety measures.
The seven-day average of daily COVID-19 cases in Australia increased from about 9,000 on Nov. 10 to more than 14,000 a week later, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
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Australia lifted a ban on international cruise ships in April that had been in place since March 2020. The country’s COVID-19 rules had been among the world’s strictest.
The changes come shortly after a Princess ship, Majestic Princess, docked in Sydney on Nov. 12 with some 800 positive COVID cases on board.
Cruise lines ease COVID-19 rules elsewhere
Major cruise lines have been further relaxing requirements for sailings elsewhere in recent weeks. Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean International and others have all dropped their remaining vaccination and testing requirements for many voyages.