MSC Cruises’ vessel MSC Meraviglia has been denied entry to two Caribbean ports over coronavirus fears.
A crew member is described as having a “cough, fever and associated muscle pains” and has been placed into isolation on board.
But MSC Cruises said the crew member has Type A influenza – not coronavirus.
The 4,345-passenger ship is currently on a seven-night roundtrip Caribbean sailing which left Miami on Sunday.
Meraviglia has been prevented from docking at Ocho Rios in Jamaica and George Town, Grand Cayman Island – the itinerary’s first two ports of call.
#MSCCruises is pleased to confirm that it has just received formal and final authorization from the local health authorities in the State of Quintana Roo, Mexico to get to #Cozumel. #MSCMeraviglia is due to arrive there later this evening, local time.
— MSC Cruises News (@MSCCruises_PR) February 26, 2020
Jamaica’s ministry of health and wellness issued a statement on Tuesday, explaining why passengers were stopped from disembarking in Ocho Rios.
“A cruise line with over 4,500 passengers and over 1,600 crew members was denied access to the port of call in Ocho Rios,” the statement read.
“The vessel arrived at approximately 8.30am and upon inspection by the port health officials, it was discovered that a crew member was placed in isolation on board.
“The crew member had a cough, fever and associated muscle pains with a travel history to a country of interest relating to the [coronavirus] Covid-19.”
Meraviglia was scheduled to call into Grand Cayman on Wednesday, but the country’s government also denied permission for the ship to dock.
“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,” minister of health Dwayne Seymour said.
The country’s ministry of health and the public health department also added that a second person is “not well” on board.
However, Cayman health officials added: “Both appear to be in a stable condition.”
MSC said: “In both instances, the ship was effectively turned away simply based on fears.”
The vessel has been given authorisation to arrive in Cozumel, Mexico, on Thursday evening.
MSC said: “The crew member who was diagnosed with common seasonal flu is in a stable condition, receiving anti-viral treatment and medication, and is now free of fever and nearly recovered.
“No other cases of Type A influenza have been reported on board Meraviglia.
“No cases of coronavirus have been reported on board MSC Meraviglia or any other ship in MSC Cruises’ fleet.”
The line has apologised to passengers on the sailing for the missed ports of call in Ocho Rios and George Town.
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