A cruise ship that was turned away from Jamaica and the Cayman Islands on Tuesday received permission to dock in Mexico on Wednesday.
The MSC Meraviglia from MSC Cruises, was turned away from Jamaica and the Cayman Islands after a crew member tested positive for the flu on Tuesday. The ship, with more than 4,500 passengers and 1,600 crew members, is scheduled to arrive in Cozumel Wednesday evening.
“MSC Cruises is pleased to confirm that it has just received formal and final authorization from the local health authorities in the State of Quintana Roo, Mexico to get to Cozumel,” a spokeswoman for MSC said on Wednesday.
It seemed that the ship was falling into a pattern set by Holland America’s MS Westerdam, which earlier this month was turned away from five countries because authorities feared that people onboard had Covid-19. After the Westerdam docked in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, one passenger tested positive for the illness. The C.D.C. later said that the woman’s diagnosis was a false positive.
In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, MSC said that the crew member and all passengers on the ship passed mandatory health screenings in Miami before embarking on the cruise on Sunday.
The MSC ship arrived in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, from Miami on Tuesday morning. After the ship’s command reported one case of influenza onboard, Jamaican authorities, concerned that the man might have the coronavirus, said no one could disembark. The ship left Ocho Rios for its next port of call, Georgetown, Cayman Islands, after waiting to be cleared for nearly four hours.
The ship was supposed to dock in Georgetown on Wednesday morning, but the Caymanian Ministry of Health and Public Health Department said on Tuesday night that it could not do so.
“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,” Dwayne Seymour, health minister for the Cayman Islands, said in a statement.
The incident came on the same day that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States said that Americans should brace for the likelihood that the coronavirus will spread to communities domestically.
Having another ship blocked from docking is more bad news for the cruise industry, which has already seen falling bookings across Asia. Another cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, was placed in a two-week quarantine in Japan where hundreds of people onboard fell ill.
The Ministry of Health in Kingston nevertheless said it was acting judiciously to block the ship.
“The crew member had a cough, fever and associated muscle pains with a travel history to a country of interest relating to the Covid-19,” the National Ministry of Health in Kingston said in a statement.