The Caribbean is typically one area of the world known for inviting spirit especially to tourists, but the hysteria over the coronavirus has turned that spirit sour forcing some cruise ships to stop elsewhere.
In fact, an MSC Cruise ship was reportedly turned away from ports in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands after reports of sick passengers. The ship was finally able to dock on the island of Cozumel in Mexico. MSC Cruises claimed the ship had a clean bill of health and passengers were only sick with the flu, not the coronavirus.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador slammed Jamaica and the Cayman Islands for rejecting the ship saying, “We cannot act with discrimination. Imagine if a ship arrived and it wasn’t even allowed to dock, and they were told, ‘Keep going on your way, see where you can dock.’ That is inhuman.”
According to The Washington Post, MSC Cruises said in a statement, “This led to unnecessary and unjustifiable anxiety, not only for our passengers and crew on board, but right across the Caribbean’s tourism sector, and possibly even further beyond.”
The ship was on a 15-day trip and was supposed to arrive in Miami by Feb. 23. The ships 4,580 guests will receive a full refund and arrive in Miami instead by March 1.
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The Cayman Islands government, however, believes they are taking the proper precautions to protect the country.
“In an abundance of caution, in order to provide protection to the health and safety of the residents of the Cayman Islands, the government has denied permission for the cruise ship to call on Grand Cayman as previously scheduled,” Dwayne Seymour, health minister for the Cayman Islands, said in a statement to the New York Times.
The National Ministry of Health in Kingston stands behind their decision to prevent teh ship from docking in Ocho Rios pointing out that a crew member repordly had a cough, fever and associated muscle pains with a travel history to a country of interest relating to the coronavirus.
According to CBS, 2,800 people have died of the coronavirus, which has spread to over 50 countries. There are reportedly 83,000 cases across the globe.
A cruise ship was also turned away from a port in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic after it was feared eight people were infected with the coronavirus. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, the owner of the ship, said in an emailed statement, “It is our opinion that this is an overreaction by the Dominican Republic.”
The statement also said that there was “a small number of influenza-like cases on board. Our medical team has now advised that they are all feeling better. No guests or crew are, or have been, displaying symptoms that are considered to be consistent with those of coronavirus.”
As of now, the ship is “awaiting advice on the next steps” and “liaising with a number of airlines to secure onward travel for guests.”