Brazil’s cruise association has suspended trips until January 21 after COVID-19 outbreaks on three ships.
The pause is to “resolve differences” with authorities over “interpretations and applications of operational health and safety protocols,” Cruise Lines International Association Brazil (CLIA Brazil) said in a press release on Monday.
Cruise ships currently on voyages will end their tours, the association said.
Infections on three cruise ships sailing off the country’s coast on New Year’s Eve alerted federal health regulator Anvisa, which recommended the suspension.
After a pandemic-induced ban, Brazil allowed cruise ships to set sail again in November under strict health protocols.
But COVID case numbers are spiking in the country, where community transmission of the Omicron variant has been detected.
And on December 30, health authorities suspended the operations of two ships after they detected dozens of COVID-19 cases on board.
The Costa Diadema was ordered to disembark 68 infected people and return to its home port near Sao Paulo for quarantine.
The Rio de Janeiro-bound MSC Splendida was ordered to return to the same port after reporting 78 cases.
A third ship, the 4,000-passenger MSC Preziosa, disembarked about 30 infected passengers in Rio who were isolated, along with close contacts.
Brazilian health authorities announced Sunday they would investigate reports of COVID protocol violations after local media revealed that Costa Diadema passengers broke quarantine to participate in a New Year’s Eve party.