Wednesday 23 September, 2020

Cruise ship passengers cleared for COVID-19

Three cruise ship passengers aboard the cruise liner Costa Magica, who were exhibiting respiratory symptoms and suspected of possibly having COVID-19, had their samples taken and tested for the coronavirus after arriving in Barbados on Sunday.  

The results were negative.

The ship docked in Barbados after being denied entry in Tobago, with a total 2,307 passengers and 962 crew. These included 417 Italians who would have boarded the vessel between February 28 and March 6.

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According to Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Anton Best, the initial medical report from the ship stated that there were four passengers on board experiencing flu-like symptoms but none of these had “a travel history of interest”.  

This information was updated, he said, to include the three sick passengers, comprising two Italians and one from Guadeloupe. It was at that stage it was decided that a public health team would board the vessel and test these passengers, who all eventually proved to be negative for COVID-19.

Dr Best made it clear that none of the ship’s passengers or crew was permitted to disembark in Barbados and the ship was expected to leave on Sunday evening after taking on supplies.

A team from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, led by Dr Best, visited the Port during the day to engage Port workers who expressed some concern about the ship’s presence.

 The health authorities updated the workers on all the steps that were being undertaken to ensure their safety and to protect the country as a whole from any risk of exposure to the respiratory illness.            

Barbados over the weekend upgraded its 14-day quarantine protocol to include all passengers arriving from Italy, expanding it from the three districts in northern Italy originally identified.

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