Guidelines drafted for cruise ships wishing to dock in Jamaica

Jamaica says it has drafted interim guidelines in light of concerns from the cruise ship industry as to the island’s requirements for admission to ports in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that has killed more than 3,000 people mainly in China, South Korea, Italy, the United States and Japan.

Passengers being entertained after disembarking the Marella Discovery II cruise ship in Port Royal recently.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness said the guidelines have been circulated to the Port Authority of Jamaica and relevant agencies as the island moves to deal with preventing an outbreak of the virus.

According to the guidelines, any passenger or crew who have travelled, within the last 14 days, to any country for which a landing restriction is in place, will not be allowed to disembark.

“The decision to grant these privileges to other passengers or crew will be dependent on a review of ill persons on board for a determination as to whether their symptoms include fever and/or respiratory illnesses, either at the time of arrival in Jamaican waters or during the cruise,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Travel history

In its statement, the Ministry of Health and Wellness said that ships requesting to dock in Jamaica must provide certain forms of information “for assessment and decision-making”.

Among the information being requested includes a copy of the medical logs since the start of the voyage. In keeping with the “high risk” situation that the world now faces with respect to COVID-19, noting that “cruise lines should insist that all persons with illness report to the ship’s medical facility for treatment. Jamaica requests that travel history, temperatures and the presence or absence of respiratory symptoms be recorded and submitted for review.”

“A travel history must be taken for all persons presenting to the ship’s medical facility. Any person who has a fever and/or respiratory symptoms who has been in a country where there is transmission of COVID-19 should be immediately isolated and close contacts quarantined.”

Jamaica said it was also recommending that persons with a travel history to countries with transmission of COVID-19 be monitored on board.