St Lucia on Saturday, February 1, denied a cruise ship with over 3 000 passengers onboard entry in Castries Harbour after health authorities had confirmed that some travellers had been experiencing respiratory tract infections.
However, the Department of Health & Wellness denied reports there might have been cases of the deadly 2019-nCoV (coronavirus) that killed more than 200 people in China and that the World Health Organisation declared a global health emergency.
The AIDAperla cruise ship with nearly 3 300 passengers was scheduled to dock at Castries at about 8:00 a.m. local time. The ship currently sails under the flag of Italy and her last port of call was Kingstown, St Vincent.
According to health officials, several individuals onboard AIDAperla were presenting cases of “upper respiratory tract infections” and the ship was turned away, “in accordance with the Health Declaration”.
The Department of Health & Wellness said in a statement that based on information received from the ship, the decision was taken not to grant clearance as there was an unusually high number of sick guests on board.
St Lucia, just like other Caribbean countries, activated a coronavirus response plan with the Department of Health & Wellness stating it continues to monitor the international situation.