Ship turned away by Cayman amid coronavirus fears

| 25/02/2020 | 106 Comments
Cayman News Service
MSC Meraviglia

(CNS): One of the six cruise ships scheduled to visit Grand Cayman on Wednesday has been denied entry because a crew member on board with a travel history to a country with cases of the COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) had symptoms associated with the disease and had been placed in isolation on the ship. The decision by the Cayman Islands Ministry of Health followed that of the Jamaican authorities, which denied landing to the ship at Ocho Rios, St Ann, on Tuesday.

The MSC Meraviglia, which has around 4,500 passengers and over 1,600 crew members, arrived at the Jamaican port at around 8:30 Tuesday morning, 25 February. However, port health officials who inspected the ship discovered that there was a crew member in isolation with a cough, fever and associated muscle pains, symptoms of COVID-19, which has now infected at least 80,067 people worldwide and killed at least 2,700.

“We saw that there was somebody there who is in quarantine because that person came from the Philippines and the 14 days have not elapsed,” public relations and advocate officer at the North East Regional Health Authority, Angenice Whyte, told The Gleaner.

“They have that person in quarantine but that was not told to us before the ship docked, so as part of our public health standard and regulation handed down by the Ministry of Health on how we deal with communicable diseases, we did not allow persons to leave the ship,” Whyte said.

The release from the Cayman Ministry of Health did not name the ship that has been refused landing or mention the coronavirus, merely noting the symptoms of the person in isolation and that the ship had been turned away by Jamaican health authorities.

“The Ministry of Health and the Public Health Department have reviewed the medical details of the person who has been isolated and the details of one other member of the ship’s complement who is not well. Both appear to be in a stable condition,” the release stated. 

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour said, “In an abundance of caution, in order to provide protection to the health and safety of the residents of the Cayman Islands, the government has denied permission for the cruise ship to call on Grand Cayman as previously scheduled.” 

The Meraviglia is scheduled to go on to Cozumel, Mexico, and then to the Bahamas. It is unclear if the ship will be allowed to land at those destinations.

The COVID-19, which is reaching pandemic levels, continues to put a strain on the cruise ship industry, including the two cruise lines that are partnering in the Cayman Islands cruise berthing project. According to the Miami Herald, Royal Caribbean Cruises shares dropped more than 7% Tuesday to close at $89.55 per share, more than 16 points below Friday’s closing price, while Carnival Corportion’s shares fell more than 5% Tuesday to close at $35.84, down almost 6 points from its Friday close.

Nevertheless, Grand Cayman remains a popular port of call, and five ships, with a total passenger headcount of almost 11,000, are still scheduled to visit George Town on Wednesday.


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Category: Business, Health, health and safety, Tourism

Comments (106)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    CNS, how about an article detailing measures being taken at airport, port, flu clinic, hospitals, doctors. …? What test exactly is the flu clinic carrying out? I ask because I know of at least one case where the flu clinic sent a person to work without a thorough check despite their partner presenting with symptoms after having travelled to a country now in the throes of a major outbreak. How is Cayman keeping the virus out/contained??

    CNS: We will do more on the coronavirus, for sure.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Cayman will eventually be the modern world Spinalonga (google it)…

  3. Anonymous says:

    “port health officials who inspected the ship discovered that there was a crew member in isolation” – so I assume those who inspected the ship also stayed on board rather than being allowed back on Island? Just because one guy quarantined himself doesn’t mean nobody else on board hasn’t already got whatever he’s got.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Quarantined staff member tested negative for COVID-19. Over react much?!?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, and how can the Director of the Port Authority say that the cruise ships carry out rigorous health checks so we have nothing to worry about?? Some persons do not know they have Covid-19 until the third test. Does Mr. Woods have a medical degree or is he answering to the political directorate?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Okay folks. Panic, anxiety…Why not to get ready instead?

    Once you get the very first signs of being sick, and that is very important!!! : fever, start coughing, turn your body into environment hostile to the viruses.

    Day 1 — Take six doses (6 times a day) of ½ teaspoon of baking soda in glass of cool water, at about two-hour intervals
    Day 2 — Take four doses of ½ teaspoon of baking soda in glass of cool water, at the same intervals
    Day 3 — Take two doses of ½ teaspoon of baking soda in glass of cool water morning and evening, and thereafter ½ teaspoon in glass of cool water each morning until cold symptoms are gone.

    I personally completely dissolve baking soda in just boiled water, then add cold water.
    Do it not less than 1 hr before meal, as it neutralizes stomach acids.
    The recipe used to be written on Arm & Hammer Company baking soda boxes since 1925.
    I personally buy Bobs Red Mill organic.

    Try, if it helps, it helps, if not, no harm done.

    Or….. wait for scientific proof if you’re one of those who needs it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      A shot of brandy (or three) in a lemsip works wonders…

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    • Anonymous says:

      When I worked in the Middle East we used to get vicious throat infections caused by the hot (120F+), dry (10% humidity) climate. Thankfully, the country wasn’t alcohol-free because the quick cure was neat vodka, preferably the locally produced stuff. Half a tumbler full straight out of the freezer, drunk in mouthfuls that you washed around the irritated area before swallowing – a couple of those soon fixed the problem. If you went to the doctor they’d put you on antibiotics and you’d be off work for a week.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Elites Are Bugging-OUT! CEOs of DISNEY, MASTERCARD and SALESFORCE all RESIGN within 24 hours. Nothing to see here. Turn on CNN, Fox. BBC etc.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Finally, the abject dishonesty of those in the Pension Fund is now in plain view.
    Caymanians, kiss your pensions goodbye as the Stock Market goes into freefall.
    This is why the controllers of the fund refused investment in local companies.
    What a scam!

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  7. Anonymous says:

    All non-Caymanians should be repatriated immediately.
    Air travel should be stopped, no more cruise ships.
    There should be a 4 week self isolation period.

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    • Anonymous says:

      All expats working should be allowed to stay an work here as long as the coronavirus is raging, forget about the 9 years roll over for now, but if they chose to go then they can’t come back until the virus is not raging anymore. And don’t let any others come., readers what you all think about this suggestion ?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Say no to fresh groceries and produce…that will teach ‘em…wait what?!?

  8. Anonymous says:

    The quarantined Filipino staff member on the ship, who travelled via Manilla, where there are no existing COVID-19 cases, tested negative for the virus, if that matters to anyone.

    • Anonymous says:

      I doh trust that test

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    • Anonymous says:

      They now day it might take 28 days before you test positive after being infected.
      All those who got cleared could be spreading it unknowingly.
      Eat garlic, ginger, take GSE and you should be fine!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Cruise ships ate floating petri dishes, they are always in the news with breakouts of norovirus and other digestive problems. The coronavirus at the current rate will ensure that cruise ship bookings will plummet anyway. With thousands of passengers joining ships from all over it can only help to spread it.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Lets look at measles history. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected.

    In the decade before 1963 when a vaccine became available, nearly all children got measles by the time they were 15 years of age. It is estimated 3 to 4 million people in the United States were infected each year. Also each year, among reported cases, an estimated 400 to 500 people died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 suffered encephalitis (swelling of the brain) from measles.

    3 to 4 million people in the United States were infected each year- IT WAS NORMAL. No panic or hysteria.
    1,500 died or got encephalitis each year. 1500/3mil=0.0%

    If coronavirus is as infectious as measles, it might spread faster, but still, in most cases it is not different from common cold and yes, some would die.

    Why stress over inevitable? focus your energy on prevention. Boost your immune system, sunshine, seaair are more beneficial than vitamins. Look into alternative ways of protection. It is up to you what to choose- lysol or essentials oils.

    Thyme oil is one of the strongest natural antiseptics known it is able to kill over 60 different strains of bacteria.
    Here’s the link to publication Med Comparative study on the antiviral activity of selected monoterpenes derived from essential oils. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/19653195/
    Just keep in mind they are talking about isolates derived from oils, not actual oils, which are many folds more potent than isolates.

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    • Anonymous says:

      One ounce of clove oil has the antioxidant capacity of 450 pounds of carrots, 130 quarts of blueberries, or 48 gallons of beet juice.

      But don’t take my word for it. Read The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple, by David Stewart, PhD, DNM

      Floracopeia is out of Thyme oil. But it has greek Oregano and many others that just as potent.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Airline travel and airports have definitely been proven to be no safer for avoiding this virus than cruise ships. Are you refusing flight entries to this island???

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    • Anonymous says:

      Statistically, as irrational fears and echoed knee-jerk racist health policies go: you’d be over 10 times more likely to catch COVID-19 from a visiting Canadian (10 total cases, 4 current in 38mln pop 0.0000105%) than from a returning Filipino worker (3 total cases, 1 current *not in Manilla, 110mln population 0.000000909%).

  12. Anonymous says:

    I’m guessing after this whole thing has come to pass no one will have to worry about a cruise port being built the economic fall out from this virus will decide it on its own

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  13. Anonymous says:

    If it had been a Carnival ship it would have been welcomed with free drinks for all.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Meanwhile, the Cayman Islands has a 5.5 Mag earthquake, tsunami threats, and dozens of aftershocks, and still doesn’t think it needs to invest in local seismological data-collection equipment. We’re going to continue to rely on the USGS office in Golden Colorado for delayed seismic affirmations for anything they can measure there over 4.2Mag.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    and still, not one word from Moses??? Is he vacationing somewhere?

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  16. Anonymous says:

    For those saying corornavirus has lower mortality rate than standard seasonal flu, below is from WHO update from yesterday.

    https://www.statnews.com/2020/02/25/new-data-from-china-buttress-fears-about-high-coronavirus-fatality-rate-who-expert-says/

    The case fatality rate is between 2% and 4% in Hubei province, and 0.7% in other parts of China. The lower rate outside of Hubei is likely due to the draconian social distancing measures China has put in place to try to slow spread of the virus. Other parts of China have not had the huge explosion of cases seen in Hubei, Aylward said.

    A case fatality rate of between 2% to 4% rivals and even exceeds that of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, which is estimated to have killed upwards of 50 million people. Even a case fatality rate of 0.7% — which means 7 out of every 1,000 infected people would die — is sobering. It is seven times the fatality rate for seasonal flu, which is estimated to kill between 290,000 and 650,000 people a year globally.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wait a few weeks and mortality figures will rise. So far only 20000 have come out the other side, and 2500 in caskets.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The mortality rates are based on a number of factors such as age, pre-existing medical conditions, available health care and how the authorities respond to the outbreak. Very bluntly the Chinese response has been pretty abysmal. In the main it seems they’ve just rounded up people and put them in temporary isolation units, places like sports centres, with no proper medical facilities and only very basic hygiene, food and heating. Where they’ve built, or are building, so-called hospitals they’re just like pre-fabricated prisons. Of course people are dying – it you did that in the USA, the UK or Europe they’d die. I’m not saying this isn’t a serious problem but at the end of day the deaths in China seem to be more related to the way cases are being handed than COVID-19 itself.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    I’m just wondering how this might work out if we had a cruise dock with RCCL and Carnival as the major investors. Would they make decision or would CIG? Let’s hope we never have to find out because I suspect the ones holding the purse strings would take the lead on this.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It was made very clear at several piblic meetings that Government through the Port Authority would continue to make such decisions.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Minister, thank you for doing the right thing!

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  19. Anonymous says:

    It should alarm everyone that we would have thrown the 20,000 survivors of Coronavirus onto a funeral pyre and lit the match. No sense of proportionality even (especially) from the highest levels of “decision” making. Shame on us for not even trying to understand the scope of threat in a mature way. #Caymankind

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Well done to those who stopped this cruise ship from coming. If the story is correct and the ship did not disclose to the Jamaican authorities the sickness on board then that ship ought to be banned for a year or two as a penalty for putting everyone at risk.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The quarantined staff member DOESN’T have COVID-19! Does that matter to anyone? Is it now illegal to isolate yourself to your own barracks with the flu during cold and flu season? Stupidity reigns!

  21. Anonymous says:

    I hope we will begin to realize the gravity of jumping to racist conclusions on the basis of fragmentary data and geographic improbability. The Philippines is a country of 105 mln people, 1900km away from Wuhan, with just 3 quarantined cases (1 now dead). Expecting every “sick person” to be carrying a deadly strain is causing a disruptive global panic where nobody can afford to get sick with anything during a normal flu season. Sick people risk being “written-off” or arbitrarily quarantined with other sick people, some of whom might actually have Coronavirus. I feel sorry for the 4500 guests on that ship. Time for them to disembark wherever they can, with their belongings, and catch a plane out of there, lest they be written off and quarantined themselves! That our chief medical officer and health minister jump to these unreasonable conclusions condemning 4500 based on (at best) partial info on one quarantined staff member, should terrify people more than the virus.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Most things are sensationalized here, every story appears to be an opportunity for would be politicians to launch their campaign. Noise makers galore! Nauseating!,

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Do you really think that on the whole island at all the hotels with vacationers, there is not one person who might be infected? I would just stay at the Ritz, and not leave, love that hotel! Really the best part of the whole island. Last cruise this past January, got off and spent the day there having lunch and shopping, better than anything in town!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Viruses don’t care how many stars your hotel carries. They don’t work like that. In any case, the important thing is that there isn’t any COVID-19 here, or on that ship. How that fact escapes reason is the most shocking aspect of this.

  24. Anonymous says:

    You do realize if corona virus broke out on this small rock, “they” may quarantine the whole island. Nobody will be able to leave the island. We may be taken like one large cruise ship 😭 stuck!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman only did something about that ship, because Jamaica turn it away. 3 weeks ago a Filipino returned from Philipines with a cold an no one said anything about him when he entered in Grand or the Brac. Thankful it was just a cold and not the Coronavirus, but it i could had been and no one checked him

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      • Anonymous says:

        Do you hear yourself? 20 times the acknowledged caseload per capita in Canada and you want to flog the sick Filipinos for coming back to their home with a cold! You are the sick one.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Back in 2005, headlines warned the U.S. was facing a cataclysmic extermination event with a calculated 2 million Americans succumbing to the bird flu; the best-case scenario had a calculated death toll of 200,000. The same scare tactics were used during the 2009 swine flu outbreak.

    Both pandemics turned out to be grossly exaggerated threats, but that didn’t result in a more conservative, cool-headed approach to subsequent outbreaks. If anything, efforts to drum up fear and hysteria have only escalated.

    In 2014, we were told Ebola might overtake the U.S. and then it was pertussis outbreaks.
    In January 2015, it was measles in Disneyland.
    In January 2016, it was zika, followed by more news about pertussis outbreaks.
    In 2017 and 2018 it was influenza, then back to measles again in 2019. Now we have coronavirus.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Better safe than sorry!

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    • Anonymous says:

      @ 7:04, You do understand that the big pharmaceutical companies make bazillions of dollars when millions of people get vaccinated against communicable diseases, don’t you? What can we expect other than being smothered in newscasts telling us about a disease that can kill millions of people if not controlled……… and this corona stuff is claiming more victims daily. I saw in the news that the virus might have been developed as a biological warfare weapon and is now out of control. We live in a dangerous world! That being said, I think we should take whatever precautions are shown to be effective in avoiding the corona virus. Good luck!

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  26. Anonymous says:

    He’s already admitted to mental illness. That’s good enough for now. That disqualifies him from continuing to run for office! Finally we got him!

  27. Anonymous says:

    It is now on the daily mail homepage, George Town is spelt incorrectly though.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8045997/Cruise-ship-carrying-6-100-turned-away-two-ports-coronavirus.html

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s the Mail what do you expect? This is the rag that ran a story about an incident involving a BA A320 using a stock pic of a B747!

    • Anonymous says:

      If you get your ‘news’ from the Hate Mail then spelling errors are probably the least of your problems.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Why are you judging a person? Lighten up.
        We all scroll through DM to see naked a$$es, fish lips, NOT to get news.
        Though, You should give them a credit for being the #1 when it comes to reporting on real news. Not sure how they manage to be there first.
        I only read the very top headline.

    • Anonymous says:

      Daily trash plus daily obituaries. And Kardashians of course.

  28. Anonymous says:

    what a bunch of nonsense. drama make the world go around and shame on those who sensationalize this stuff…
    coronavirus has a lower death rate than common flu.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes but those most at risk of serious consequences from the flu (eg the elderly or kids with asthma) can be vaccinated against it (accepting vaccine not 100% effective). There is no vaccine against coronavirus so it is worrying for the more vulnerable than common flu.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Flu Vaccines are a blend of the “greatest hits” from previous years’ strains. They don’t inoculate you from all of this current season’s undocumented mutations and threats. WHO estimates at least 12 different Corona-type viruses actively circulating the planet, and catching any one of them will now, depending on how much common sense exists where you live, lump you in a room with people afflicted with confirmed Covid-19.

        • Anonymous says:

          1:43 ‘WHO estimates at least 12 different Corona-type viruses actively circulating the planet.’ To start off I treat anything coming out of the WHO with a great deal of caution because too many of their ‘experts’ are more interesting in getting their names in the media than the truth. What’s missing here is the simple fact that coronaviruses were first identified as a URTI back in the 1960s so they’ve been around, and people have been getting infected by them, for over half a century.

          The current situation begs two questions. The first is why COVID-19 is deemed to be so dangerous, has it really mutated like this? The second is why the impact of it is so varied? This isn’t Ebola with a potential 90% death rate. We may have hundreds of people dying but others who are infected are suffering virtually no symptoms. I don’t think anybody, anywhere actually knows what is going but I am damn sure the Chinese are lying about it all.

    • Anonymous says:

      Really should research before commenting. The death rate of the “common flu” as you put it is .1% – the death rate for COVID-19, so far, is 3.3% – it is at least 33x deadlier than the “common flu”. And it is at least, if not more, contagious. Really – check the numbers. Or don’t – head in the sand seems to work for some who are lucky.

  29. Anonymous says:

    so will cayman ban the next cruiseship with a passenger diagnosed with the flu virus???

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  30. Anonymous says:

    MSC always got the frowziest people anyway. Gyet!

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  31. Anonymous says:

    It would be helpful for all residents to know what measures have been taken for an outbreak here. Do we have tests, masks, icu beds how many and lung machines? Can we leave or will we not be able to leave island anymore?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Re read Steven Kings “The stand” to learn that nothing, absolutely nothing can stop pandemic if one is to happen. One of The best books in my opinion.
      If there’s nothing one can do, why worry? There are many ways to die. Besides Coronavirus is not much different than common cold. And yes, there are always those who would develop viral pneumonia.

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      • Anonymous says:

        LOL, Steven King is an over-rated literary arse! If you take examples from what he writes we’d have vintage cars killing people.

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        • Anonymous says:

          3:34
          You are probably 20-35 who doesn’t read books, but knows that they’re overrated.

          Read The Stand before giving your opinion. You want be able to put it down. I guarantee it. Unless you haveADD. One thing you would learn for sure is how viruses spread and why no quarantines would stop it.

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  32. Bj says:

    I’m on holiday in Cayman islands. I’m glad that ship cannot dock here. Why contaminate all these people?.

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  33. Anonymous says:

    And just like that, the modern cruise industry was finished.

    I expect less than half the ships on the books from now until Christmas will sail let alone arrive here.

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  34. Anonymous says:

    Just a big hoax. Full government control will be right around the corner. Dissenters will be rounded up. Kristallnacht all over again. The whole thing is a psychological control operation.

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  35. Anonymous says:

    We dodged this bullet but it’s only a matter of time now before this virus is on island.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Probably already on island this virus. Do we have tests? ICU beds how many? Lung machines? Masks? What if it breaks out here will we be allowed to travel land in US?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly. What is the plan, and do not tell us to report to the emergency room. Are government ready to ban public gatherings, church services, close bars and restaurants, quarantine whole hotels, ban entry by travelers from certain destinations, enforce self quarantine, distribute masks????

  36. Anonymous says:

    You don’t show symptoms of the virus for 14 days so we should cancel every other ship because we don’t know if anyone on those ships has it or not! Better safe than sorry!

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  37. Tom says:

    What the problem is? 40,000 people have died from common flu in 2 months and yet you are worry about coronavirus!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you Tom for seeing past the sensationalism.

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      • Reeeeeeeeeeee says:

        You all are retarded. So what if you survive the coronovirus? You could catch Influenza right after… then guess what?
        You could recatch the coronovirus right after right after getting over it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      wooah!…don’t bring facts into this! people need to man up.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Who is counting?
      I don’t believe anything anymore. Not about flu, not about coronavirus.

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    • TT says:

      The problem is sir, if the corona virus spread like the flu virus, it will kill alot more people. Plus, there is no vaccine.

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  38. Anonymous says:

    Thumps up Cayman! For once, the $ sign has not taken precedent over the wellbeing of the people of the Cayman Islands.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Clearly tenders are still a better choice for our security and public health that this episode with a cruise ship has now illustrated. Was this a risk that should have been forecasted in the planning for the proposed port by the highly paid consultants or technocrats? Didn’t they know that cruise ships in general carry such risks and the bigger the ship the bigger the possibility? This is not rocket science but common sense. With tenders we have more control and say who lands from cruise ships and they can in fact create an additional delay in our favor with processing passengers. If we don’t learn from this we can’t for that project.

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      • Anonymous says:

        … aaand here comes another round, the CPR group spinning any and everything, even coronavirus, to conjure up some other reason why we shouldn’t have cruise berthing facilities.

      • Anonymous says:

        Except, whether by boat or by dock, people get off the ships after being checked off. So any controls would remain the same. ‘You sick, you no get off. Go back room & watch telly.’

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