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By Machela Osagboro

An Italian cruise ship has been barred from docking in St John’s as health officials continue efforts to keep the dreaded coronavirus out of Antigua and Barbuda.

The Costa Luminosa was denied permission to dock yesterday morning, Health Minister Molwyn Joseph told Observer.

The Ministry issued a press release alluding to “incompleteness and inconsistency” in the vessel’s maritime health declaration.

“The Ministry has noted that the declaration did not include timely notification of a passenger who had been on board with symptoms of an infectious disease,” it stated.

Italians onboard the same vessel were restricted from disembarking in Jamaica when the ship docked in Ocho Rios late last month. The Jamaica Gleaner reported that a decision was made to allow the ship to dock but Italian passengers were not allowed to get off.

An Italian passenger had presented symptoms of the virus when she fell ill at sea. The vessel docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Sunday and a 68-year-old Italian woman was placed in isolation after she exhibited signs similar to COVID-19.

The woman is said to have been travelling with her husband, who has so far not shown any symptoms.

She will remain in isolation while she awaits the results of a COVID-19 test that was sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The Costa Luminosa is currently on a special 25-day voyage which originated in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on February 24, and will end in France on March 20.

Nathan Dundas, manager of Bryson’s Shipping and the agent for Costa Luminosa, remarked that while the company was looking forward to the vessel’s arrival, he respected the government’s decision.

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