(BARBADOS TODAY) – Barbadian health authorities are at this hour preparing to conduct tests on a 48-year-old crew member on board the cruise liner, Carnival Fascination, docked just off the island.
Thirty-seven Barbadians are also on board the vessel, which was headed to St Lucia this morning, along with 140 others who will disembark here to make a connecting flight to the United Kingdom.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley made the revelation this morning at a press conference held moments ago at Government headquarters while describing as “scurrilous” reports of severely ill passengers on board the vessel.
“There is a scurrilous rumour going around that would suggest that the Carnival Fascination cruise ship has over 170 passengers sick and I want to debunk that and let all Barbadians know up front and center that that is untrue.”
Mottley told journalists that one crewmember and two passengers were tested on board for flu-like symptoms earlier this week.
Two of them tested positive for Influenza A, but the third person by yesterday had stopped showing any symptoms.
“ As a result of that, they [medical personnel on board the vessel] are reasonably comfortable that there is nothing to worry about, “she said.
Mottley said the Government has taken a decision to have the crew member tested here and the vessel will be thoroughly inspected by local health officials.
She explained that St Lucia does not have the capacity to test for the coronavirus (COVID-19) while stressing that Government has an obligation to protect Barbadian citizens on board.
“We are therefore ensuring that the ship can come into harbour, “ she said, noting that discussions were already held with the General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union Toni Moore, port authorities, and medical authorities on arrangements.
Noting that the test results should be completed within four hours, the Prime Minister assured:
“We don’t expect it to be positive, largely because once a person doesn’t show symptoms, they don’t get back symptoms again. There is a distinct likelihood that we should be ok. But we are not taking any chances with the people of this nation. We have a duty to protect people’s health and well being,” Mottley stressed.