Cruise ship cleared by CDC back at sea

| 21/10/2014

(CNS): The Carnival Magic cruise ship has been cleared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States and is expected back in Cayman later this week. The ship, which regularly calls on Grand Cayman as part of its cruising itinerary hit the international news headlines last week when it was revealed that a Texas lab technician who had handled Ebola medical samples was aboard. The woman has since tested negative for the virus and was isolated in her cruise ship Cabin for most of her trip. The Carnival cruise ship had left Galveston before the technician was aware she needed to be tested and quarantined.

The CDC released a statement Sunday after reviewing all of the evidence relating to the passenger and said that, “No passengersor crew were exposed to Ebola on the ship.” The CDC added that “the ship was safe to use” with no need to screen passengers. The ship was also sanitized before leaving Texas at the weekend and it is now expected to arrive in the Cayman Islands on Thursday, as scheduled. CDC also confirmed that the lab technician’s Ebola test was negative

The deputy premier and minister of tourism, Moses Kirkconnell said he was pleased the tests on the healthcare worker had returned as negative meaning that neither the ship nor its passengers had been exposed to the virus as originally feared. During the cruise the ship had been declined entry into both Belize and Mexico when the news came from CDC that the technician who may have been exposed to the virus was on-board.

“Although this particular incident has been satisfactorily resolved, I would like to reassure the public that the Cayman Islands remains on high alert concerning the Ebola Virus and all of the relevant stakeholders and agencies are taking precautionary measures to ensure that our Islands are protected from exposure and remain free of the virus,” said the Minister. \\
“In the case of the Carnival Magic, both the Galveston Country Health District (GCHD) and the U.S. Centres for Disease Control have issued public health advisories confirming that the ship poses no threat to passengers and the vessel has been cleared to continue its normal schedule.

“Additionally, even though no requirement for specialised cleaning was imposed on Carnival, the ship has been thoroughly sanitized out of an abundance of caution prior to commencing its next voyage.”

Officials said the tourism ministry had remained in close contact with Carnival for updates on the situation and received assurances from the cruise line that as well as monitoring the health and safety of its passengers the health and well-being of the citizens at the cruise destinations it calls on were also being considered.

Kirkconnell said the cruise line has stated that as an additional precautionary measure, enhanced mandatory screening has been introduced for all passengers, visitors and crews boarding its vessels.

“All guests are required to submit to a series of health screening and travel history questions prior to embarkation and, if deemed necessary, will undergo further medical screening before being allowed to board,” the minister stated as a result of his communication with Carnival. “With these safeguards in place we are as confident as we can be about the safety of the ship and should have nothing to fear from welcoming the passengers and crew to our shores,” he added.

Prior to the United States reporting its first case of Ebola in September, government officials from 13 agencies in the Cayman Islands were already working together to mitigate against the threat of the virus entering our shores, officials stated in a release Tuesday.

However, it was clear from a recent public meeting held by the public health department that Cayman does not yet have a prepared or coordinated plan on how it will deal with screening or quarantining and treating anyone that may arrive in Cayman who has the virus.

Nevertheless, the health minister added that the necessary government agencies were collaborating on a plan. 

“I would like to reassure the public that we are taking all precautions for border control, and measures to combat potential risk will remain in place for as long as is necessary to ensure our Ports of entry are protected,” Osbourne Bodden said, as he thanked Dr Kumar and his team at Public Health and Deputy Chief Immigration Officer, for their hard work as well as Bruce Smith and his team from Immigration.

“We trust that our efforts will pay off, and these islands will not have to test the many protocols that have been put in place, in conjunction with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), thePan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and others,” he added hopefully. 

He said that the public will continue to receive periodic updates on the global and regional situations regarding the threat of Ebola, as well as the Cayman Islands’ readiness to cope with any local outbreak.

Meanwhile, according to the latest international reports while Nigeria has managed to contain the virus and halt its potential spread in that country, things in Sierra Leone are getting worse as the number of people infected with Ebola, on the other side of the country from where the first cases emerged, is soaring with more than 20 deaths daily.

Hospitals in all of the countries treating patients infected with the deadly, contagious disease are facing mounting challenges dealing with the infected waste generated by sick patients.  Patients generate a staggering amount of what is hazardous material daily, with experts suggesting it amounts to eight 55 gallon barrels of dangerous medical material per patient per day.

A Spanish nurse who was infected while treating a patient in a Madrid hospital has now been given the all clear and has recovered from the disease. While another nurse infected in Texas is said to be doing well in her recovery at a specialized unit near Atlanta. She was one of two nurses infected while treating Thomas Eric Duncan who died last week.

 

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Comments (9)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    im in living in grand cayman… should i be worried?!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ebla cannot survive outside of a host for long, in the case of a banister etc, the virus dies in a matter of minutes

  3. Anonymous says:

    Please! This is not news. There was no Ebola on the ship. Move along. Nothing to see here.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Crickets…

     

  5. Anonyanmous says:

    We need the cruise ships back in port, business are hurting, people need money and jobs.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Fearbola.