THE MV Caribbean Princess has been denied permission to dock in this country, after reports of “a significant outbreak of influenza and gastroenteritis on the ship”.
Speaking with the Express yesterday, Minister of Health Terrrence Deyalsingh confirmed that the cruise ship had been denied entry into Trinidad and Tobago.
Deyalsingh later explained in a release that the ship, which was carrying over 3,000 passengers and a 1,000-member crew, had also been denied approval to berth at the Bridgetown Port in Barbados due to similar concerns.
“The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has also confirmed the presence of ‘a significant outbreak’ of gastroenteritis on the ship. It was taken as a precautionary measure to protect the Trinidad and Tobago population,” Deyalsingh said later in the day in a release.
The release went on to state that the passage of the vessel had been monitored by CARPHA, who had provided updates on the outbreak of gastroenteritis to the State, as well as the vessel’s agent.
It added: “Based on the information confirmed, Health took the decision to deny entry to the MV Caribbean Princess. This decision is in keeping with the guidelines of the (US-based) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”
The minister also took the time to reiterate that there were no suspected or confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Trinidad and Tobago up to yesterday.
No berthing in Barbados
In neighbouring Barbados, a report said the MV Caribbean Princess was scheduled to berth at the Bridgetown Port, yesterday morning. Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kenneth George, disclosed that Ministry of Health and Wellness had received a number of reports, including from CARPHA, of “a significant outbreak” of gastroenteritis on the ship.
Dr George said that, in keeping with the guidelines of the CDC and “as a matter of caution”, their Ministry of Health and Wellness had decided that the cruise liner would not be allowed to berth.
Beware of fake news
The ministry also issued tips which will help the public identify fake news:
- There is no author name or company letterhead
- The content does not match the headline of the article;
- There are no sources within the story and
- Genuine news agencies are not reporting the information.
Novel coronavirus hygiene tips
People are invited to share the following public health information to protect themselves and their loves ones:
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
- Cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow; if you do not have a tissue
- Avoid close contact with people who have flu-like symptoms
- Thoroughly cook meat and eggs
The public was also advised to keep abreast of notifications by monitoring the ministry’s social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for accurate information on all health matters. Correct information can also be sourced from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) websites and social media pages.