Growing fears of the deadly coronavirus forced a Caribbean island nation to turn away a fully loaded tourist cruise ship on Saturday, Travel Pulse reported.
Officials said the Eastern Caribbean island of Saint Lucia denied a cruise ship, carrying around 3,000 people, entry into its port after there were confirmed upper respiratory cases onboard, the report said.
According to The Australian, the AIDAperla was scheduled to dock in Castries Harbor at about 8 a.m. local time Saturday when the Department of Health & Wellness was informed of several passengers showing signs of upper respiratory tract infections, the report said.
As a result, health officials denied the AIDA Cruises vessel entry but said there were no confirmed cases of the deadly coronavirus from the victims, the report said.
The viral outbreak in China has left more than 200 people dead and millions quarantined.
“This decision was taken out of an abundance of caution for human health and safety,” Saint Lucia’s Department of Health & Wellness said in a statement.
“It is noteworthy that the health authorities at no time suspected that there were any cases of the novel coronavirus on board the vessel and therefore would like to categorically dismiss any false claims that maybe in circulated.”
Saint Lucia’s Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sharon Belmar-George said the island has activated its coronavirus response plan by increasing surveillance at high health risk areas, such as cruise ports and airports, the report said.
Meanwhile, Japanese authorities are racing to contain a possible outbreak of the coronavirus after it was revealed that an infected passenger flew into Tokyo and spent a few days aboard a Princess Cruises ship, forcing authorities to lock down the vessel and quarantine thousands of people on board.
The ship, the Diamond Princess, ended its planned 14-day itinerary early and is currently docked off the coast of Yokohama, not far from the Japanese capital, CNN reported.
Medical officials are going room-by-room to check each guests’ temperature and medical condition, the report said.
.Several passengers have reported feeling ill, and the tests to check if they contracted the virus will take four to five hours, the ministry said.
Passengers and crew will now be required to stay on board until at least Tuesday night. There are 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew members on board, Princess Cruises said in a statement.