A cruise ship carrying 4,500 passengers and 1,600 staff has been turned away from at least two countries after a crew member showed suspected coronavirus symptoms.

Passengers on the MSC Meraviglia were barred from disembarking by authorities in Jamaica and the Grand Cayman after a crew worker said to have been in Manila within the last few days allegedly fell ill on board.

The ship is currently headed for Mexico’s port city of Cozumel, but authorities are reported to have revoked permission for those on the ship to get off.

However, a spokesperson for ship operator MSC Cruises has disputed reports the vessel has been rejected by a third country, saying people on board plan to disembark in Mexico this evening, local time.

The company told Mirrror Online they had received authorisation from the Mexican Ministry of Health.



It is understood the Ministry of Health will board the ship and check medical records

The company also claimed that medical records merely show ‘one single case of common seasonal flu’ by a passenger who has not traveled in any areas impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The individual has been put in quarrantine for security measures, but other than that there are no suspected cases on board, a company spokesperson said.

They added: ‘The crew member who was diagnosed with common seasonal flu is in a stable condition, receiving anti-viral treatment and medication, and is now free of fever and nearly recovered.’

The company released a long statement early this afternoon saying the ship had been ‘effectively turned away simply based on fears’ from Jamaica.

MSC added that it was ‘extremely disappointed’ with Jamaican authorities, claiming: ‘Jamaican authorities yesterday delayed a decision for many hours to give our ship the necessary clearance to disembark guests, despite us having provided detailed medical records to the local health and national authorities ahead of its arrival as per normal protocol.’

The statement continued: ‘Similarly, the decision taken overnight by the Grand Cayman authorities to refuse disembarkation at Georgetown was made without even reviewing the ship’s medical records, which show one single case of common seasonal flu (type A influenza) affecting one crew member with a travel history clearly showing no passages through territories either affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) or subject to any international health restrictions.



‘In both instances, the ship was effectively turned away simply based on fears.’

An itinerary shows the vessel was supposed be in international waters on February 28, with the next planned stop the Bahamas, at Ocean Cay.

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It remains unknown how many Britons, if any, are on the ship.

The company said they are offering a ‘considerable compensation for every passenger’ aboard the ship.

The news comes after 3,500 passengers were stuck on quarantined cruise ship the Diamond Princess for weeks, with hundreds catching coronavirus in the biggest outbreak outside of China.

Many passengers on the disease-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship berthed in Yokohama have now disembarked, but reports suggest dozens in Japan are now showing symptoms.

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