BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – The Barbados government yesterday attempted to reassure citizens that their health would not be affected after authorities allowed a cruise ship to dock here, with at least six people testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID- 19).
“I can’t speak for the cruise ship and I don’t want to be able to, but I can safely say that we are helping as always and that the Dos Santos Lab is helping. The test and isolation facility at Harrison Point has one person at this point and we will continue to help. We have the ability, ”said Health and Wellness Minister Jeffrey Bostic on a radio program.
He told the radio listeners: “From our point of view there is absolutely no compromise on the public health that threatens Barbados. So there is absolutely nothing to worry about Barbadians.”
Passengers on the Sea Dream 1 were informed of the first case on board on Wednesday – five days after the start of the week-long voyage. Captain Torbjorn Lund announced four new cases a day later.
The ship’s 53 passengers – 37 Americans and 16 others from Great Britain, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Germany – as well as the crew who are not absolutely necessary are quarantined in their cabins after the cruise was stopped and the ship was docked again in Barbados .
Bostic said on Thursday, “I think we tested 34 people on Thursday when the ship reported there were four people on board … who were positive and during our tests we recorded a total of six positive cases … but tests are ongoing” .
The Minister of Health and Wellness said no one was allowed to leave the ship and that “the cases that were on board the ship were isolated on the ship and we actually went on board the ship … and these people wiped off those were allegedly positive cases , and we then traced the people on the ship, so we were able to test 34 people. “
Bostic also reiterated that the Barbadians were not at risk when the overseas passengers came here to board the cruise.
“There was absolutely no risk for Barbadier. Remember, we had a system in place a few months ago to repatriate thousands of passengers and crew on these ships. It was done in a very comprehensive way and there were no problems with the health protocols and there were no problems at all.
“We would also have done some tests on people who for some reason were not on the ship but did not mix in Barbados. There are no problems at all, ”said Bostic when he discovered that the ship had since left Barbados.
International media reports said the infections on the cruise ship represented a blow to the cruise industry, which was decimated by the pandemic after the voyage was cut short in March for fear of the virus spreading.
Cruise ships in particular gained the reputation of a potential floating petri dish in February after a series of large outbreaks aboard liners in the early stages of the pandemic.
The Sea Dream 1’s voyage was intended to restore confidence in the industry and draw travelers with heightened safety protocols back onto liners. Many of the passengers are journalists and travel bloggers who are invited to document the trip.
The cruise was the first of 22 voyages in the Caribbean and the ship was to make stops in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as well as Grenada.
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