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An update on the Paul Gauguin: More detailed (and well balanced) info is now available in local media: https://www.radio1.pf/paul-gauguin-les-passagers-en-septaine-a-terre-le-protocole-sanitaire-renforce/ https://www.tahiti-infos.com/Les-passagers-du-Gauguin-debarques-et-confines_a193190.html None of the other passengers and crew tested positive from Sunday’s testing, and they have been allowed to start to disembark the Gauguin Monday night. Here, IMO, are the salient facts to note: The infected passenger is a 22-year-old travelling with her mother. They arrived from the States last Sunday, before boarding on Thursday. They’d been diligently following the mandatory masking and social distancing protocols, and were also diligent about doing the required self-test and dropping it off as instructed. They 100% complied with all of the conditions that were imposed on their travel and their cruise -- they did their part to mitigate risk. The requirement for a test to be done 72 hours before boarding the departure flight is not perfect - but we all knew that already. It’s acknowledged that she could have easily been infected in the interval, or had a first false-negative. The required self-test done 4 days after arrival did its job. However, it did not prevent her from embarking the ship. Because of this, a 3rd test on the eve of embarkation is now going to be required, administered by the authorities. The sanitary protocols onboard ship were strictly adhered to, and worked. Tracing identified 24 ‘at risk’ crew and passengers that had been in contact with the pair (out of 340.) The pair’s shoreside day on Bora-Bora, with the use of a rental car and a stop at a restaurant, as well as their time in Tahiti could reliably be contact-traced as well. The authorities expressed confidence in their testing, tracing and isolating policy. They feel that the E.T.I.S. system (https://www.etis.pf/en/), that they have put in place to manage the health screening and monitoring of the tourists on the islands, functioned as intended. They felt that the risk of exposure had been minimal (not zero.) All passengers and crew that tested negative must now adhere to a 7-day quarantine, to end with retesting to be redone at the end of this period. The monitored ‘confinement’ must be done at home for the residents, or in designated accommodation for the other passengers. All had to sign an ‘honour-bound’ quarantine compliance agreement. Passengers who live on Tahiti were the first to be allowed to disembark and go directly home on Monday night. Residents of the other islands are expected to disembark to return home today. The crew shall remain onboard. The mother-daughter pair will be closely monitored during their quarantine on Tahiti, for any sign of illness. The interesting thing about all of this is that this incident has happened in a “closed environment” of sorts - with French Polynesia being essentially free of community transmission. What remains to be watched, especially in the next 7-10 days, is if the islands remain cluster-free, and if none of the passengers and crew return a positive result when retested in 7 days. The French Polynesian authorities did state that they do not want situations like this one to repeat, where a ship carrying passengers has to return to port and deal with a quarantine situation again. The main take-away here is the importance of compliance with the sanitary protocols.
The Paul Gauguin just restarted cruising with international passengers last Thursday, with a mix of resident, American and European passengers. Both French Polynesia and the Gauguin (Ponant) had extensive arrival & embarkation testing & screening protocols. See here: https://www.pgcruises.com/travel-advisory it was as a result of the 4-day self-administered follow-up test that a female passenger was found to be positive late on Saturday. The ship returned to Papeete on Sunday, the passenger was retested positive, then taken off the ship with her companion to be placed into quarantine. All remaining passengers and crew were also retested on Sunday, with the results - and a decision as to what will happen next - to be announced later today. Passengers are now confined to their cabins. This morning, there was more info available on French media, with little elsewhere - one English language source incorrectly identified the case as a crew member. The nationality of the infected tourist has not yet been disclosed. Bora Bora, which had remained COVID-free up to now, had all passengers disembark for the day, before the results of the follow-up test came back. Extensive contact tracing will be undertaken there as well as in Tahiti, where the passenger spent a couple of days before boarding. *This* is the one to watch, folks...