MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s government announced this week that it would let cruise ships dock at its ports, even if passengers have tested positive for the coronavirus, and also allow asymptomatic travelers to disembark on its shores.
The announcement came after two cruise ships with Covid-19 outbreaks were refused permission by Jalisco state authorities in the last week to disembark passengers or crew at Puerto Vallarta, a popular tourist destination on Mexico’s Pacific coast.
“Our country maintains its policy of solidarity and fraternity, as well as the principle of non-discrimination towards all people,” the government said in a statement. “The health and tourism authorities remain attentive to provide the necessary medical assistance to those who visit us.”
The announcement from the federal government contradicts Jalisco’s local authorities and is typical of Mexico’s laissez-faire attitude toward foreign visitors during the pandemic. The Latin American nation is among the few in the world to have imposed no restrictions or testing requirements for travelers.
Tourism made up nearly 9 percent of Mexico’s G.D.P. in 2019, according to the government.
With nearly 300,000 dead, Mexico has among the world’s highest death tolls from Covid-19. But domestic health restrictions have also been limited. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador rarely wears a mask in public, despite having tested positive earlier this year.
“We cannot forget the loss of human life,” Mr. López Obrador said at a news conference this week. “Fortunately we are coming out of that difficult time.”
With more than half its population fully vaccinated, cases are continuing to drop nationwide, authorities said this week. However, infections in touristic states like Baja California Sur and Quintana Roo, home to Cancún, have surged this month.
Travelers flying within Mexico are usually asked to fill out questionnaires regarding symptoms before boarding flights. Cruise ship passengers who test positive for the coronavirus or present symptoms will receive medical attention, the government said.
The new guidance in Mexico comes as the Omicron variant continues to wreak havoc on worldwide travel, with thousands of flights canceled this week and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigating or observing more than 80 cruise ships with outbreaks of the virus.