(PRESS RELEASE) – Authorities in St Kitts allowed the 101,350 gross-ton Costa Magica to dock at Port Zante Wednesday morning, but passengers onboard were not allowed to disembark. The vessel docked around 8 a.m. and came from Antigua, its last port of call.
There are reports that a local pilot was allowed to board the vessel out to sea. The pilot, whose name was not given, was later allowed to disembark after docking.
It was not immediately clear if local health personnel went on board and the reason for the decision to refuse passengers to leave the cruise ship.
“There are suspected cases of flu-like symptoms onboard,” a source said Wednesday afternoon.
It is said that the Costa Magica will be allowed to remain at Port Zante while it awaits clearance from Martinique its next port of call.
“There have been concerns expressed by workers at the airport that they have yet to be advised or trained as to what is the protocol for dealing with those persons who are departing the Federation by air. Also, the question is being asked why are cruise ship passengers not being asked whether they have visited any of the 60 countries that currently have cases of the coronavirus,” said Dr Denzil L Douglas, Leader of the Opposition during his weekly radio call in programme on Tuesday night. He had expressed several concerns.
The Costa Magica is currently on a 14-day round-trip in the Caribbean. It departed Guadeloupe on February 21 and made stops at Scarborough, Tobago; St Georges, Grenada; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St Lucia; Fort-de-France, Martinique; Pointe-a-Pitre, Grande-Terre Island, Guadeloupe; Tortola, BVI; Philipsburg, St Maarten and St Johns, Antigua.
From St Kitts, its next port of call is Fort-de-France, Martinique on March 5, and returning to Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe on March 6.
While there is no known case of the coronavirus in St Kitts and Nevis, health officials disclosed on Monday that three asymtomatic persons have been quarantined at home, six quarantined at tourist facilities and fifty persons are being monitored daily by the public health team.