Even though a former passenger tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), a cruise ship full of thousands of passengers was reportedly allowed to disembark in Miami over the weekend without undergoing any type of medical screening for the novel virus.
This former passenger is said to have gotten off the MSC Meraviglia in Miami on March 8 after an eight-day Caribbean cruise, at that time leaving behind 103 passengers and the ship’s crew for the next voyage. Four days later, after the ship had traveled around with thousands of new passengers aboard, it was confirmed by the Public Health Agency of Canada that this passenger had, in fact, tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).
After receiving the news, the company decided to isolate seven crew members who had been in close contact with this individual in separate cabins. But nothing was done with any of the potentially exposed passengers, and all of them ended up being released without any type of screening, let alone actual testing.
Amazingly, it was federal health officials who gave MSC clearance to dock in Miami on Sunday and let all of the passengers leave. This stands in sharp contrast to what happened in California with the Grand Princess cruise ship after a passenger tested positive on that vessel, leading to both the California Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) testing 46 people while isolating the rest of them offshore for three days.
None of the 3,877 passengers who disembarked from the MSC Meraviglia, on the other hand, were tested at all. And many of them immediately went to Miami International Airport to fly back to their homes all across the country.
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One man from South Carolina who was aboard the MSC Meraviglia told the media that he received a letter from the company under his door while still on the ship informing him that another passenger had tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus. But upon disembarking, this man, who chose to remain anonymous, says that no protocols were in place to screen himself or any of the other remaining passengers.
“If we have it, it’s going to spread throughout the country,” the man is quoted as saying. “When I say there was no check, there was none whatsoever. I expected us to have some kind of screening. They didn’t do a single thing. We walked straight off the ship. There wasn’t any check on anyone for anything.”
MSC, in its defense, stated that no one on board had any visible symptoms of the disease, and were thus clear to disembark. The company must have missed the memo about how the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) can incubate without symptoms for nearly a month.
“We worked closely with the Health Authorities in Canada, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and PortMiami and followed all protocols as required,” a spokesperson from the company wrote in an email to the media.
“MSC Meraviglia received clearance after health authorities reviewed all the necessary documentation regarding the health of passengers and crew on board today and throughout the cruise.”
What makes this situation even worse is the fact that a spokesperson from PortMiami told the media that it wasn’t even aware that a cruise ship passenger had tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). The Florida Health Department also says it was not informed about any passenger testing positive.
For more related news about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), be sure to check out Pandemic.news.
Sources for this article include: