Cruise ship blocked by Jamaica, Cayman over coronavirus fears docks in Mexico

The cruise ship, which was carrying 6,000 people, was turned away by Jamaica and the Cayman Islands after a crew member tested positive for flu.
The cruise ship, which was carrying 6,000 people, was turned away by Jamaica and the Cayman Islands after a crew member tested positive for flu.PHOTO: REUTERS

COZUMEL, MEXICO (AFP) - A cruise ship carrying 6,000 people which was turned away by Jamaica and the Cayman Islands after a crew member tested positive for flu has docked in Mexico, the company said.

The MSC Meraviglia arrived off Cozumel late on Wednesday (Feb 26) after receiving authorisation from the local health authorities, MSC Cruises said in a statement.

The Cayman Islands and Jamaica had refused to allow the ship to dock over fears about the new coronavirus. A crew member had tested positive for regular seasonal flu.

The cruise firm said it was "extremely disappointed" that Jamaican authorities delayed a decision to give the ship clearance despite having been provided with medical records.

It said Grand Cayman authorities had also turned the ship away "without even reviewing the ship's medical records".

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

"No other cases of type A influenza have been reported on board MSC Meraviglia. Moreover, no cases of Covid-19 virus have been reported on board MSC Meraviglia or any other ship in MSC Cruises' fleet."

Its situation recalled the US cruise ship Westerdam, which was at sea for two weeks after it was rejected by five countries over fears its passengers could be carrying the new coronavirus.

It was finally allowed to dock in Cambodia.