Mexico says cruise ships with coronavirus cases can dock

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican government said Tuesday it will allow cruise ships carrying people infected with the coronavirus to dock.

The announcement came after two Mexican ports refused to allowed passengers ashore because their ships had coronavirus cases.

The Health Department said passengers or crew who show no symptoms will be allowed to come ashore normally, while those with symptoms or a positive virus test will be quarantined or given medical care.

The department said a cruise ship that was prevented from docking at one Pacific coast port will be allowed to dock farther north, at the port of Guaymas. That was an apparent reference to a ship that was supposed to dock at Puerto Vallarta a few days ago but was not allowed to do so.

Early in the pandemic, some cruise ships wandered the seas for weeks seeking a port that would allow them to dock with coronavirus cases aboard.

Mexico is one of the few countries in the world that has instituted no travel restrictions, no testing requirements and no mandatory face mask wearing for visitors. The government argues such measures would be counterproductive for the economy, for which tourism revenues account for about 8.5% of GDP.

Mexico has also paid a high price in the pandemic. The country has had about 460,000 deaths related to COVID-19, based on government reviews of death certificates over the last two years.