With yet another cruise vessel held up on account of Coronavirus checks at the Bridgetown port today, Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey, is again assuring Barbadians that Government was taking no chances with the health of the public.
He also made it clear that at no time will the health and safety of port workers be put at risk, as testing of cruise ship passengers suspected of having cases of the deadly virus becomes the new normal at the seaport.
“We are taking the health of Barbadians very seriously and we are taking the issue of health of the port staff extremely seriously. In fact, tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m., we are having another sensitization meeting with workers at the port. We will make sure that we do all that we can to maintain the health and standards at the port and above all ensure that Barbados is not compromised,” said Humphrey, who was responding to questions from reporters while doing a walkthrough of Bay Primary for an update of the school’s beautification project.
Barbados TODAY understands that as of midday the ship was given the all clear as testing was deemed unnecessary as none of the passengers had travelled to any of the hotspots for the disease in the last 14 days.
“There were no issues on the ship. When we double-checked the declarations were fine. We just had to verify that no one had been to countries that were exposed in the last 14 days. These are protocols that are in place for cruise ships and everything is fine,” a source close to the development told Barbados TODAY.
This morning Humphrey made it clear that while these measures may come across as a hassle for passengers, Barbados will not be scaling back, as the public’s safety will always remain the number one priority.
“If a ship comes here and there are persons on board with symptoms, they will be tested and until health officials give clearance, those passengers will not be allowed to interact with Barbadians,” Humphrey stressed.
On Sunday, three cruise ship passengers aboard the Costa Magica, who were exhibiting respiratory symptoms had their samples taken and tested for the coronavirus after arriving in Barbados. The results were negative.
The ship docked in Barbados after being denied entry in Tobago with a total 2,307 passengers and 962 crew. These included 417 Italians who would have boarded the vessel between February 28 and March 6.
None of the ship’s passenger was permitted to disembark in Barbados and the ship left on Monday after taking on supplies.