Mon | Jul 13, 2020

UPDATE | Cruise ship with patient in isolation denied docking at Ocho Rios

Published:Tuesday | February 25, 2020 | 12:00 AM
The MSC Meraviglia cruise ship in Ocho Rios, St Ann on February 25, 2020 - Contributed photo

An MSC Meraviglia cruise ship that arrived in Ocho Rio, St Ann from Miami this morning has been ordered to remain at sea over health concerns.

The decision was taken after it was discovered that a crew member, who has a travel history to countries with cases of the Coronavirus, was placed in isolation aboard the vessel.

“We saw that there was somebody there who is in quarantine because that person came from the Philippines and the 14 days have not elapsed,” public relations and advocate officer at the North East Regional Health Authority, Angenice Whyte, told The Gleaner.

 “They have that person in quarantine but that was not told to us before the ship docked, so as part of our public health standard and regulation handed down by the Ministry of Health on how we deal with communicable diseases, we did not allow persons to leave the ship,” Whyte explained.

 She said currently there is no Coronavirus threat to Jamaica or Jamaicans as no one from the ship has been allowed to leave and there is a possibility that no passenger or crew member will be allowed on land.

 But according to MSC, the staff member only had the regular flu. See statement below from MSC: Statement on MSC Meraviglia’s scheduled call today (February 25) to Ocho Rios, Jamaica. As is standard practice when a vessel approaches each port of call during a cruise, the ship’s command has to report any illness on board to the relevant local health authorities. Upon arrival this morning MSC Meraviglia reported one single case of common flu (type A influenza) affecting a crew member from the Philippines. The crew member had embarked at the beginning of the cruise in Miami, after passing the mandatory health screening that all of our guests and crew members receive before joining the cruise, a precautionary measure that we have implemented fleetwide. The local port health authority in Ocho Rios today requested further guidance from the National Ministry of Health in Jamaica’s capital of Kingston. After waiting in port for nearly four hours for formal clearance, ship’s command decided to leave Ocho Rios for the next port of call as the long wait had compromised the passengers’ proposed time at the destination. All of MSC Meraviglia’s guests and crew have been screened individually upon embarkation, both in terms of their travel history as well as their health. MSC Cruises denies embarkation to anyone – crew and guest alike – who has traveled to, from or through mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau, as well as to people who during the past 14 days have traveled to, from or through any of the municipalities that are subject to quarantine in central northern Italy. In addition to this, all MSC Cruises ships also conduct individual pre-boarding screening by thermal cameras to identify guests or crew members with signs or symptoms of illness such as fever (≥38 C°/100.4 F°) or feverishness, chills, cough or difficulty breathing. This will also result in denied embarkation. The crew member had traveled to Miami from Manila, via direct connection in Istanbul. He developed symptoms of common flu and tested positive to type A influenza after he visited the ship’s 24/7 Medical Center while already on board. He has no other symptoms. MSC Cruises apologizes for any inconvenience caused and the disappointment to its guests in connection with today’s missed call due to the delay in receiving clearance. MSC Meraviglia will be calling regularly Georgetown in the Cayman Islands tomorrow.

- Carl Gilchrist

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