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MSC Meraviglia.jpg PHOTO: iVAN SARFATTTI/MSC CRUISES
MSC Meraviglia is en route to Cozumel after missing Grand Cayman and Jamaica

Turned away from other ports, MSC Meraviglia cleared by Cozumel (Friday update)

Friday update: Mexican officials cleared the ship to call at Cozumel after overnight testing confirmed a crewman and one young passenger had seasonal flu, not coronavirus.

Full refund

Passengers will be allowed ashore Friday and the ship will depart for Miami Friday evening, for its scheduled arrival Sunday. All 4,580 passengers will be getting a full refund of their cruise fare.

Earlier, MSC Meraviglia missed Jamaica then was turned away from Grand Cayman based on what MSC Cruises said was one crewman’s common (type A) flu — not coronavirus.

‘MSC Cruises is extremely disappointed that Jamaican authorities yesterday delayed a decision for many hours to give our ship the necessary clearance to disembark guests, despite us having provided detailed medical records to the local health and national authorities ahead of its arrival as per normal protocol,’ the company said in a statement.

‘Similarly, the decision taken overnight by the Grand Cayman authorities to refuse disembarkation at Georgetown was made without even reviewing the ship’s medical records, which show one single case of common seasonal flu (type A influenza) affecting one crew member with a travel history clearly showing no passages through territories either affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus) or subject to any international health restrictions,’ the statement continued.

Turned away 'on fears'

‘In both instances, the ship was effectively turned away simply based on fears,’ MSC Cruises said.

MSC Meraviglia is currently en route to Cozumel, its next scheduled port of call. MSC Cruises said ship’s command and company management are in contact with local health authorities to ensure their decision is based on a factual review of the medical records, ‘as well as consideration for the pre-embarkation screening and on-board medical and deep sanitation protocols that are in place across MSC Cruises’ entire fleet.’

Screening for travel history adds Italy’s quarantined areas

The company outlined that MSC Meraviglia passengers and crew are screened individually upon embarkation, both for their travel history and their health. The line is denying boarding to anyone who has traveled to, from or through mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau, as well as anyone who within the past 14 days has traveled to, from or through any of the municipalities in central northern Italy that are subject to quarantine.

In addition to this, MSC Cruises said its ships conduct individual pre-boarding screening by thermal cameras to identify passengers or crew with signs or symptoms of illness such as fever or feverishness, chills, cough or difficulty breathing. People showing symptoms are denied boarding.

Crewman was isolated, is recovering

According to the line, the crewman who was diagnosed with common seasonal flu is in stable condition, receiving anti-viral treatment and medication, and is now free of fever and nearly recovered. ‘Out of precaution he was isolated from other crew members and guests from the moment that he showed symptoms and will remain so until he is fully recovered. No other cases of type A influenza have been reported on board MSC Meraviglia,’ the company said.

The crew member, a Filipino, had embarked at the beginning of the cruise in Miami, after passing the mandatory health screening.

MSC added that no cases of coronavirus have been reported on any of its ships.

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