Prime Minister Mia Mottley said health authorities have been conducting tests on a crew member onboard the ship – Carnival Fascination, that is docked offshore the island.
During a hastily called press conference on Thursday, Mottley sought to dismiss reports that several passengers on board the vessel are severely ill.
She told reporters that there are 37 Barbadians on board the ship that was heading to St. Lucia, along with 140 others who will be making a connecting flight to the United Kingdom from Barbados.
“There is a scurrilous rumour going around that would suggest that the Carnival Fascination cruise ship has over 170 passengers sick and I want to debunk that and let all Barbadians know up front and center that that is untrue.”
Mottley told journalists that one crewmember and two passengers were tested on board for flu-like symptoms earlier this week.
Two of them tested positive for Influenza A, but on Wednesday, the third person had stopped showing any symptoms.
“ As a result of that, they [medical personnel on board the vessel] are reasonably comfortable that there is nothing to worry about, “she said.
Mottley said the Government decided to have the crew member tested here and the vessel will be thoroughly inspected by local health officials.
According to the Prime Minister, St Lucia does not have the capacity to test for the coronavirus (COVID-19) .
“We are therefore ensuring that the ship can come into harbour, “ she said, noting that discussions were already held with the General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union Toni Moore, port authority, and medical authorities on arrangements.
“……largely because once a person doesn’t show symptoms, they don’t get back symptoms again. There is a distinct likelihood that we should be ok. But we are not taking any chances with the people of this nation. We have a duty to protect people’s health and well being,” she said.