A cruise ship carrying a crew member reported to have a travel history to a country which has recorded cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, has been denied entry into the Cayman Islands.

The MSC Meraviglia, seen here in this file photo, was ordered to stay at sea near Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Tuesday.

The MSC Meraviglia, carrying 4,488 passengers, was scheduled to arrive on Wednesday.

However, Health Minister Dwayne Seymour, in a statement on Tuesday evening, said the ship will not be allowed 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,” Seymour said.

The Jamaica Gleaner newspaper first reported that the ship was ordered to remain at sea near Ocho Rios after it was discovered that a crew member had travelled to the Philippines within the last two weeks.

The crew member, who is being kept in isolation, is reported to have “flu-like symptoms”, according to Acting Port Director Joseph Woods.

Cayman’s Public Health Department and the Ministry of Health, the statement said, were aware that the cruise ship scheduled to arrive in Grand Cayman Wednesday had been denied landing in Jamaica.

It said, according to the Ministry of Health & Wellness in Jamaica, a member of the ship’s crew has been placed in isolation, suffering from “a cough, fever and associated muscle pains”.

“The Ministry of Health and the Public Health department have reviewed the medical details of the person who has been isolated, and the details of one other member of the ship’s complement who is not well. Both appear to be in a stable condition,” it said.

Earlier in the day Premier Alden McLaughlin had said the crew member was tested in Jamaica and does not have COVID-19.

“However we are taking all possible precautions and the (Chief Medical Officer) is currently getting travel history, etc. We will err on the side of caution and if it is considered that there is any risk at all, the ship will be asked not to call in the morning,” he said.


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