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A cruise ship in Kingstown in 2020. (iWN photo)
A cruise ship in Kingstown in 2020. (iWN photo)

Health officials in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, on Friday, allowed to dock in Kingstown, a cruise ship with ill passengers, which was turned away from St. Lucia the following day and denied entry in Dominica two days later.

Castries, on Saturday, denied the AIDA Perla — which had more than 3,000 passengers on board — permission to dock at Pointe Seraphine after health authorities confirmed that some passengers were experiencing respiratory tract infections.

The Department of Health & Wellness denied reports that there may have been cases of the deadly Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that has killed more than 200 people in China and which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared a global health emergency, the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) reported.

Roseau made a similar decision on Sunday, with the Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Investment saying the step was taken after a risk assessment of the vessel, which was scheduled to arrive in Dominica that day.

“Based on the available information, and taking into consideration the public health risk posed to Dominica, a decision was taken that the ship will no longer be arriving in Dominica as originally scheduled,” the ministry said.

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But on Sunday, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves defended Kingstown’s decision to allow the vessel to dock two days earlier, saying, “we have to act sensibly with the protocols and don’t panic”.

Gonsalves said that onboard the cruise ship “there were 23, I think 23 persons, who had some kind of a virus.

“But they were isolated on the ship. They were crew members and some passengers,” he said on WE FM.

He said that the “Port Authority simply contacted, as we will do always, the public health, the chief medical officer, medical officer of health, all the entities involved and dealt with that problem so that you allow those who wanted to come off [and] could come off but those who had to be isolated were isolated on the ship.

“Some countries, by the time they hear somebody had a virus on the ship, they just say no they’re not having that person, they’re not having that ship at all. 

“You know, one of the things with all of these problems, we have to act sensibly with the protocols and don’t panic.”

The prime minister informed listeners that a press conference on the coronavirus that Minister of Health, Senator Luke Browne had scheduled for 10 a.m. today (Monday) had been pushed back to 1 p.m.

Gonsalves said this was because the minister and his technical staff had to participate in a Skype meeting with regional health officials Monday morning to discuss the coronavirus.

“I think the meeting is being held to make sure that everybody in the region acts consistently. Because some countries have been panicking,” Gonsalves said.

“Look, there are protocols which have been laid down through WHO (World Health Organisation), PAHO (Pan-American Health Organisation), CARPHA (Caribbean Public Health Agency) and which we apply,” he said.

“It’s not every incident that you just assume that it is the coronavirus,” the prime minister said.

The prime minister said that Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Simone Keizer-Beache had explained to him that when the cruise ship came, there were about 135 persons who had on the cruise “reported some kind of a discomfort”.

He, however, said, “… only 23 of them were currently reporting a problem — because the cruise came through different islands.

“If you see it is 135 active problems, then that’s a different number than 23 but you have to go through the detail to see whether there is something active and whether somebody suffered or is suffering and none of them was connected to the coronavirus.”

44 replies on “Cruise with passengers with ‘virus’ docks in St. Vincent”

    When there is an outbreak in SVG what they going to do?
    They will not have the means or know how to contain it.
    Love money too much.

    1. I think the prime minister is making a serious mistake with people health. Nurses Association ship supplies to the hospital because of shortages , medications, linens, respiratory supplies and more. There is a serious problem in the hospital. My mother die because of poor care from A DOCTOR. He never informed her that she had Osteomyelitis. The moment I saw my mom foot , I took her to the ER where she had Emergency surgery AKA. In the ER I saw a nurse took a nebulizer face mask and shared it with another patient. Luckily, I took linens for my mom bed. I had to get her medication from New York .The time has change since I left 1989. Mr Prime Minister please be mindful with the people of SVG health. Money is the root of evil. Why Why Why you are allowing the people to cry for proper health care. Listen , Mr R, G , my grand ma say , ”do good and don’t allow people tears to fall on you” Mr G , used your common sense, living in USA the CDC Nd FDA will tell us what we want to here and not what we need to know. Lol stop fooling your selfishness. Remove that stat. World wide, your decision is the standard of a toddler. I am so disappointed of your actions.

  2. This i will say ralph is right. We all cant assume that the virus is going around attacking everyone especially on a cruise ship. Where the shop started from is what the people should ask. You all are jumping to conclusion to fast.

    1. You r one of them without a brain. If there is a deadly virus without any cure at the this time, you tell me how r we going to survive this? Their r countries with the virus that have better health care systems and they cannot cope with the infection, what do you think is going to happen to countries with lower health care system.

    2. Vincy in New York says:

      It’s not about right or wrong.


      1. what protocols are in place in st. Lucia and Dominica that required denial to dock?

      2. Did svg reach out to these 2 countries and enquired of the rationale behind their decisions?

      Port of origin is not a reason to allow a ship to dock with 23 sick passengers. I can see that health officials are using a weighted algorithm or percentage of sick to total crew + passengers.

      There are always doctors on board and the ministry might have known something that is not mentioned in the article .

      Stop politicizing the issue!!!!

  3. The common influenza (flu) kills and has killed far more people to date annually. Let’s all be informed and don’t just hit the panic button. Be informed and make sensible decisions instead.

  4. We can’t even treat our own sick but this MF bringing more maybe he needs ah tragedy in the country so he could pull some strings an come out like the hero mfker

  5. There are some types of corona virus that can cause panic especially when it is new as in the current situation.
    I agree that “It’s not every incident that you just assume that it is the coronavirus,” but with the limited international study data thus far, the risk is too great a price to pay at the health of any nation.

    On this website you can find information and guidance from WHO regarding the current outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

  6. With every country closing borders, why was Ralph Gonsalves so arrogantly cavalier with Vincentian health and being so without consultation with cabinet? Why so quick to receive this ship without any idea as to what virus was affecting the ship’s people?

    It could quite easily be the deadly coronavirus. Then what? What facility does SVG have in such a case? We can’t even provide bed linen for locals in hospital! It just goes to show how arrogantly cavalier this self-styled emperor is.

    “The Chinese government has accused the US of causing “panic” in its response to the deadly coronavirus outbreak. It follows the US decision to declare a public health emergency and deny entry to foreign nationals who had visited China in the past two weeks.

    There are more than 17,000 confirmed cases of the virus in China. Some 361 people have died there. Outside China, there are more than 150 confirmed cases of the virus – and one death, in the Philippines”.

    “Hong Kong shuts border crossings with mainland China, as more countries impose travel restrictions amid rising toll. The death toll in China from the deadly coronavirus outbreak that originated in the central city of Wuhan, rose to at least 361 on Monday, as the Philippines became the first country outside China to confirm a death from the infection.

    The National Health Commission said there were 57 new fatalities on Sunday, all but one of them in Hubei, which has been effectively sealed off from the rest of the country for more than a week”.

  7. […] I agree with my county don’t allow it to dock. And if the other Caribbean countries allow it and their catch the virus, block off that country aswell !

  8. The (2019-nCoV) virus aside, the fact that this ship was allowed to dock in St.Vincent is at best negligent and at most criminal. That the governments of two countries decided it was not worth the risk to their citizens and country speaks highly of the leadership of those nation’s. While the leadership of SVG decided to risk the health and welfare of it’s citizens for the sake of a few thousand (at best) foreign dollars coming into the country. Is the leadership of SVG so desperate and feckless that they would make such a trade-off? Apparently so…it is sad to see that this is the state of things in our beautiful country.

  9. The ship has Filipino and Chinese crew on board, both countries have the virus. Some of the passengers are Chinese.

    If this ship bring the virus to SVG, it will be a man caused tragedy.

  10. Everything is politics in SVG.

    Ask what you can do for your country and not what your country can do for you.

    Why can’t we all just unite for the best interest of our people?

    Share love, share peace, share the joy and share happiness.

  11. Ralph is the one who is not being consistent. He is the only one who accepted the cruise line going against the other islands decision not to. Remember when Ralph them get sick they all are first to fly out for medical. He doesn’t get any medicals here for him, his family, nor his colleagues. So when a outbreak of ANY virus happens, they will flight out and leave us here to dead down at that dilapidated hospital that they refuse to fix. Why take the risk is the question. Why risk your nation. The other islands were not willing to take that risk just to gain $$$.

  12. Virus travels in Air and others surroundings, There is no center or containment center in the world that is safe proof that virus cannot escape from Mr PM. Did you went on the ship to verified.

    The Fruit Flies Manifestation in SVG came about by allowing commodities to come long with the filming of movies in SVG. They same type of arrogance and the results we lost our Certification of fruit flies free SVG. Our Nation cannot export to some Countries .

    When we travel in Liat , they spray us with an agent to kill any flies ,all this is because of our Government lack of judgement. Putting money over our environment and health .

    This issue is not politcal for virus does not ask which party or colour you wear. This is Health, and we all must stand up when it is threaten for expediency and payback.

    Sorry you failed again.

    My two cents

    1. Calliaquaman, you do post some rubbish from time to time. This virus is not known to be airborne, it is carried on droplets emitted when someone sneezes or coughs and you inhale or they land on you or something you immediately touch. Close contact is required.

      The Fruit Flies Manifestation in SVG came about by allowing commodities to come long with the filming of movies in SVG. This is such rubbish I wonder if you need the poodle brain transplant.

      Fruit flies have been in the Caribbean for hundreds of years. The US banned our mangos many years before a film was ever made in SVG. Our mangos are infested with the West Indian Fruit Flies because no action has ever been taken to eradicate them. The larvae bore into the mango and spoil its flesh.

      The way to eradicate them is that during one year all the windfall mangos must be collected and burnt or buried. Every mango tree on the island should then be brutally cut back or pollarded so as it misses then up to three years of not bearing fruit. During that period the cycle of reproduction is broken in the fruit flies breeding program. Hence exportable mangos for up to twenty years, when the procedure should again be applied.

  13. When hurricane pass through all yuh does have hand out-stretched for foreign aid. Now when it’s your time to show some humanity you act cowardly St Lucia and Dominica. Well done SVG.

  14. Keep in mind these people on this ship is human not animals and there shall not be treated as such……with that being said 23 from 135 is a small number not even close to half that # was mention come on prime ministers keep in mind dominica send them away st.lucia sent them away this must be something critical that these countries don’t want its people to be exposed to this virus if it is the coronavirus same sould we not turn them away but “everyone ” off that ship need to be secluded from population and test accordingly 1by1 worst case what if it is the coronavirus this could spread quick an we can have an outbreak so yes seclude all from population make sure there eat and rest make sure doctors are fully gutted when testing patients in the end send ship back from whence it came….because if it is we don’t have the proper treatment for such diseases….follow my music on Instagram righteouslion5 YouTube channel righteous jah warrior i was born in kingstown svg prime take care off your people because this could go wrong fast and hit your home in a blink off an eye be wise one love my people..

  15. ……you’re have a 1D10T issue. You fail to acknowledge it. Open you mine. The ship should of never allow to dock anywhere on or near the island. It’s all about the $$$

  16. Violet Bushel says:

    Well the Prime Minister is an understanding human being first.with empathy for humanity. He did the right thing. Put our selves in others situation and feel the isolation if the illness is far from the coronavirous.

  17. Christibell Dena says:

    S v g. Is A. Small island. And is not equipped to. Deals with. That. Kind of vires Every body. Will get sick and start dropping like flies what the hell the government is doing to. His people

  18. Calson Jackson says:

    Why would he let it dock? jeez u our health care isn’t good enough to deal with this outbreak lot more advanced countries around the world has stop flights from entering there country and poor little vincy wanna welcome this virus. Cha man

  19. Shackeil Straker says:

    Ahhhh boi this Cocoon Mamaw Government here prefer tourist money rather than the health of their citizens….and they don’t even have the fking health facilities to deal with this virus… what the fk is Ralph them thinking?

  20. Verton thomas says:

    Well we need some sort off command seance in all off this, please Vinci’s this shouldn’t have politics in this it is a health issue here, let command seance prevail here, having said all this, let us pray that all is well and nothing happen, Gave all the glory to God who knows all thing, one svg.

  21. Why is the government of svg allowing this ship to dock, when there is sick people on board. We have to do better than that, The country is low on medical supplies as well as medication, how are we going to combat a virus of this magnitude. The government need to put the people first, and stop looking at the money. They cannot fix all the medical issues that is of concern in the country, only to introduce another plaque. There is no known treatment at this time, and the virus seems to be spreading rapidly. I hope the government is prepared for this disaster that they are about to create.

  22. What do you expect when all Caribbean countries are dependent in the tourist dollar call it dollar politics.

  23. Well all I can say is, if this is the level of literacy of the person in high office, that is making the decisions,I WOULD BE EXTREMELY CONCERNED!

  24. Long live the illustrious emperor for his most wise singular decision making and most excellent thoughtfulness towards our wealth, health and wellbeing. For as a “Cruise ship with 3,711 people on board is quarantined in Japan over coronavirus fears after former passenger is diagnosed with the illness in Hong Kong” Vincentians have nothing to fear and are in good hands.

    Indeed the death toll from coronavirus now rises to 426 while officials confirm more than 20,000 people worldwide have now come down with the illness we Vincentians sure have nothing to fear.

    Wisdom on our part in the end will prevail, after all, our great health care system is second to none!

  25. Idiots, why did they let that ship dock here.
    If that was Vincentions on that ship do any of you idiots think they will let’s us dock at there docking port

  26. Antigua has blocked the ship from docking today! What Ralph and Luke know about Health could be written on the back of a postage stamp, we have an abundance of incompetence whilst the other islands have an abundance of caution and care for their citizens.

  27. Just found out my cruise on po azura which leaves friday now not going to st vincent on sunday.itinary change.

  28. Its not just Vincentians at risk its tourists and visitors, can you imagine what damage this will do when local, regional, and international news papers publish how stupid he is putting everyone at risk.

  29. According to Reuters there are now more virus cases on cruise ship off Japan; and the China death toll now exceeds 500.

    “China virus death toll jumps past 550, more cases on cruise ship. The death toll from a new coronavirus in mainland China jumped by 73 to 563 on Thursday, its third-consecutive record daily rise..” With more cases on Cruise Ship.

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