Home Travel St Lucia denies cruise ship entry amid coronavirus concerns

St Lucia denies cruise ship entry amid coronavirus concerns

On Saturday, AIDA Cruises ship AIDAperla was not allowed to dock at the island’s capital, Castries.

According to an AIDA Cruises spokesperson this was “due to some guests with upper respiratory tract infections on board”.

In a statement, St Lucia’s Department of Health & Wellness said they “took the necessary decision out of caution for human health and safety.”

“Passengers on the ship were not allowed into the country,” they added.

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“This decision was taken after a review of the ship’s Health Declaration which indicated a high number of persons with upper respiratory tract infection over a period of four days. The Department of Health and Wellness was guided by sound public health principles and ensured that the necessary guidelines and protocols were followed. In addition, the necessary assessment was carried out and humanitarian support granted.”

Some of the passengers on the cruise – which includes 4,384 guests and crew of 20 on board – are currently receiving treatment for the common flu or cold.

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An AIDA Cruise ship was turned away by St Lucian authorities (Image: Getty Images)

The AIDAperla are continuing their two-week Caribbean route as planned, after it visited the Fort-de-France portion Martinique on Sunday.

More cruise liners are expressing caution as the coronavirus spreads.

Chinese passport holders on board a recent P&O cruise ship were forced to disembark mid-journey. The decision was made as what the cruise line describes as a “compassionate disembark” after the Singapore government banned all Chinese nationals from crossing its border.

Affected passengers on board the cruise were removed at the port of Cairns, where they were given assistance with both accommodation and transport.

Cruise Critic reported that a total of 81 people were transported by buses waiting at Cairn cruise terminal to alternative accommodation.

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The cruise ship was due to travel to Singapore as part of its itinerary.

Singapore made the decision to close its border to Chinese passport holders and recent travellers to China in a bid to stop the spread of the highly infectious disease over the weekend.

Other major cruise lines have cancelled cruises as the virus spreads, including Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises.

Royal Caribbean cancelled its January 27 sailing on cruise ship the Spectrum of the Seas, scheduled to depart from Shanghai, China.

Chinese passport holders had to disembark a P&O Cruise (Image: Getty Images)

“The decision was made to fully coordinate with disease prevention and ensure the health and safety of passengers and crews,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement.

As these concerns continue to rise, what are the best ways people can protect themselves while travelling via cruise?

With travellers from different regions brought together on a cruise – a crowded, semi-enclosed environment – this makes for good breeding grounds for outbreaks and transmission among crew members, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

They advise travellers to consider the following factors before embarking on a cruise:

  • Evaluate the type and length of the planned cruise in the context of personal health requirements
  • Consult medical providers before cruise travel
  • Consider additional insurance for overseas health care and medical evacuation
  • Bring EPA-registered insect repellent and sunscreen, and consider treating clothes and gear with permethrin
  • Defer travel while acutely ill

For those who are already on a cruise, the CDC warns passengers should avoid contact with ill people and wash hands frequently with soap and water.

“If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains 60 percent alcohol,” they add.

Additionally, the CDC advises travellers to follow safety food and water precautions when eating off the ship at ports of call and to maintain good fluid intake, and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.

“Report illness to the ship’s medical centre and follow medical recommendations,” they add.

Express.co.uk have contacted Aida Cruises for comment.

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