Cruise ship AIDA Perla allowed to dock after meeting international and local health protocols

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The cruise ship AIDA Perla was allowed to berth along the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facilities on Tuesday morning after the vessels maritime health declaration submitted to the Ministry of Public Health was in line with International Health Regulations (IHR) and local health sector regulations (Public Health Ordinance of Sint Maarten) and protocols.

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department from the Sint Maarten Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), after receiving the maritime health declaration prior to the vessels arrival, consulted with departmental health officials and an epidemiologist regarding four documented and reported cases of persons being ill onboard the vessel with gastroenteritis and (presented with-) fever.

As part of CPSs increased surveillance activities (Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), health officials inquired about the travel history of those who are ill, on whether they had recently traveled or lived in China or had any close physical contact with a confirmed case of 2019-nCoV infection, and there was no evidence of the aforementioned. The decision taken to allow passengers and crew to disembark are based on facts and sound medical advice.
The public health of the people of Sint Maarten are a top priority of Ministry VSA, and the Government remains fully engaged on the issue of infection prevention and control of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus and will do all that is necessary to ensure the health and safety of Sint Maarteners.
Officials of the Ministry of Public Health have already held discussions with Port St. Maarten officials and representatives of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) regarding protocols that have been put in place for cruise ships such as pre-boarding measures and onboard protocols for handling infectious diseases that are also in alignment with the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC).

The disembarkation of cruise passengers from AIDA Perla on Tuesday are based on the following guidelines: all sick persons remain quarantined as internationally recommended according to IHR; provide hand sanitizers in strategic areas of the ship and at points of disembarkation and embarkation of passengers and crew; increase and maintain preventive and sanitation measures; and increase awareness amongst the cruise passengers and crew about proper and continuous hand washing/hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette.

AIDA Perla is on a two-week Caribbean cruise after leaving La Romana, Dominican Republic on January 23. The vessel has already visited Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Guadeloupe. A number of ports did not allow the vessel to dock such as St. Lucia, Dominica and Antigua.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has stated that the Caribbean region has no confirmed cases or reports of the respiratory illness Coronavirus 2019-nCoV, and based on current information, the immediate health risk from this virus to the general public remains low.

AIDA Perla is scheduled to return to the Dominican Republic on February 6.

The cruise ship can carry 3400 passengers and 900 crew.

Ministry VSA continues to follow guidance from its regional and international partners concerning the Coronavirus 2019-nCoV as information becomes available from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). On an international level, the situation is constantly evolving.

For more information, you can call CPS 542-1322, 1122, 1222, 1570 or email surveillance@sintmaartengov.org

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