A cruise ship scheduled to arrive in Port of Spain on Monday has been denied entry due to an outbreak of gastroenteritis on-board the vessel.
The Health Ministry, in a release Sunday, stated that entry was denied to the MV Caribbean Princess, a cruise ship carrying over 3000 passengers and a 1000 member crew. The vessel was also denied approval to berth at the Bridgetown Port, by the Government of Barbados because of the gastroenteritis outbreak.
The Caribbean Public Health Agency (Carpha) has also confirmed the presence of “a significant outbreak” of gastroenteritis on the ship, the ministry stated.
The ministry reported that it had been in constant contact with Carpha which monitored the passage of this vessel as it journeyed towards TT and provided initial notification and updates on the outbreak of gastroenteritis to the relevant authorities. The ministry stated that it has also been in continued contact with other stakeholders, including the National Security Ministry and the agent for the vessel.
"Based on the information confirmed, the Ministry of Health took the decision to deny entry to the MV Caribbean Princess. This decision is in keeping with the guidelines of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and according to Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health, 'was taken as a precautionary measure to protect the Trinidad and Tobago population'."
The ministry stressed that thus far there have been no suspected or confirmed cases of the coronavirus in TT. "The public is also urged to be cautious of sharing false or misleading information that may cause unnecessary anxiety and panic."
The ministry listed tips to help the public identify fake news: there is no author name or company letterhead; the content does not match the headline of the article; there are no sources within the story; and genuine news agencies are not reporting the information.
The ministry urged citizens to share the following public health information to protect themselves and their loved ones from the coronavirus: wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser; cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow if you do not have a tissue; avoid close contact with people who have flu-like symptoms; and thoroughly cook meat and eggs
The ministry advised that members of the public keep updated with all ministry notifications by monitoring our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for accurate information on all health matters. Correct information can also be sourced from the World Health Organization and the Carpha websites and social media pages, the ministry added.
Following the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus TT has implemented thermal screening at the Piarco International Airport and the ANR Robinson International Airport and have tweaked quarantine facilities at Caura Hospital. Government has also restricted travel to TT for anyone coming from China for 14-days, the incubation period of the respiratory virus.
The death toll has risen to 811, more than the SARS outbreak from 2002-2003, and infections rose to 37,198. The majority of cases have been in China, where the outbreak originated, but cases have also been confirmed in 26 other countries, including in the US, UK, Australia, Canada and Japan.