NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Ministry of Health yesterday said international reports of a cruise ship leaving The Bahamas with passengers quarantined over coronavirus fears were false.
According to multiple international reports, the ship was carrying four quarantined passengers when it arrived in Bayonne from The Bahamas.
Business Insider, among multiple other media outlets, indicated that the Anthem of Seas departed Bayonne on January 27 and headed to The Bahamas before returning.
It was further reported that personnel from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention boarded a cruise ship docked in Bayonne Friday morning and screened 27 passengers who reportedly recently traveled from mainland China.
Of them, four were taken to University Hospital in Newark, according to the Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis.
However, Bahamian officials said reports of the ship arriving from The Bahamas yesterday were false.
The Ministry of Health said based on investigations and information obtained from stakeholder agencies, the Anthem of the Seas’ last ports of call in The Bahamas were Nassau on January 1, 2020, and Coco Cay on January 2, 2020.
The ministry reaffirmed that there remains no suspected, reported or confirmed cases of the Novel Coronavirus in The Bahamas.
Government officials have quarantined 15 residents of The Bahamas amid the Novel Coronavirus global epidemic, though the Ministry of Health said none of those quarantined as a precaution have experienced symptoms of the virus.
When contacted about the cost associated with the government’s strategy preparedness plan, virus committee and rapid response measures, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said: “We have to respond to threats; however, they present and they are coming at us fast and furious.
“Who would have anticipated this fake news story about this Royal Caribbean ship. It required a
rapid response and public relations engagement to contain any fallout. I have no idea at what
cost,” Sands said.
In a statement Thursday night, the ministry advised that the Novel Coronavirus Preparedness
and Response Plan has been distributed to all stakeholders and several meetings have been
convened to familiarize stakeholders with the plan.
The Novel Coronavirus Operations Committee met and reviewed the step-by-step approach with customs and immigration officers, as well as healthcare professionals stationed at Lynden Pindling International Airport.