St Lucia allowing 219 nationals to return home after weeks at sea

Port Castries, which sits on the largest natural harbour in St Lucia. (Photo: CruiseHive.com)

Prime Minister of St Lucia Allan Chastanet has disclosed that 219 nationals are expected to be repatriated this Friday, May 8, after months at sea on two cruise vessels.

In a statement on Wednesday (May 6) Chastanet said that the 219 St Lucians are employees of Carnival Glory and Caribbean Princess cruise ships, “who over the past month have been desirous of returning home due to industry challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Anticipating the massive undertaking to ensure no new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) within the local population, PM Chastanet said that the cruise line, Carnival Corporation, and all nationals have been informed of the mandatory quarantine process upon arrival.

“In an effort to return the nationals to local shores, the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Tourism and the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority are working in tandem with the Department of Health and Wellness and the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority, Customs and Excise Department, Immigration and the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, to execute this operation,” he said in a Facebook post.

“Observing the national Health and Safety Protocols outlined for the management of the COVID-19 response and being satisfied that adequate preparations have been made with the cruise line, Carnival Corporation and nationals aboard prior to arrival, the Department of Health and Wellness has granted permission for both Carnival Glory and Caribbean Princess to dock at Port Castries, where the disembarkation process will be overseen by Port Health Authorities,” the St Lucian Prime Minister continued.

Prime Minister of St Lucia Allan Chastanet

Public access to Port Castries will be suspended to ensure health and safety measures are adhered to, with the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force being tasked with temporary management of the facility due to the nature of the operation.

Additionally, PM Chastanet contended that in light of the mass arrival, several prevention and containment protocols will be observed:

• All frontline personnel at Port Castries will facilitate arrivals wearing the necessary PPEs.

• It is mandatory that the 219 returning nationals arrive wearing face masks.

• Port Health Authority will spearhead the disembarkation process.

• Returning nationals will be immediately transported to a government operated quarantine facility where they will be housed for a period of 14 days.

• Each national will be screened upon arrival at the government-operated quarantine facility.

• Nationals will be tested for COVID-19 during the quarantine period.

“Following the disembarkation process, Carnival Glory and Caribbean Princess will leave Port Castries destined to its next port of call as the ship continues to aid other countries in their repatriation efforts,” he said.

A total of 207 St Lucians will arrive on Carnival Glory and 12 are aboard Caribbean Princess.