Saturday, May 09, 2020

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ST GEORGE'S, Grenada, (CMC) - The first batch of 19 Grenadians working on the Caribbean Princess Cruise Line returned home today (May 9) many months after the cruise industry came to a halt because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“I hope you are feeling better now that you are home,” Health Minister Nicholas Steele told the returning crew members during a ceremony at the Esplanade Cruise ship terminal after the authorities had given permission for them to land here.

In accordance with health protocols and procedures, each of the returnees will have to first be placed in a 14-day mandatory quarantine before returning to their families.

The quarantine location is not made public, but Steele said that they will be “in a place close to Grand Anse beach but they cannot go out.”

At the outset of the COVID-19 in January, Grenada had taken the decision to quarantine nationals upon arrival but later as Europe and the United States became hot spots many were ask to self-isolate.

Grenada, like most countries in the region, declared a state of emergency, restricting the movement of citizens as part of a strategy to contain the disease. There are presently 21 laboratory confirmed cases but 20 are on the island because one left without medical permission.

Persons working on cruise ships were among those unable to return home and on Friday, the Keith Mitchell government said that after weeks of discussion with the cruise liners, it had granted permission for the repatriation of 26 employee-nationals of the Carnival Glory Cruise Line, and 18 crew member nationals, from the Caribbean Princess Cruise Line.

The Carnival Glory Cruise Line will arrive here on Sunday.

Tourism Minister Clarice Modeste said that the decision to put the returning nationals into quarantine “is for the safety of family and country,” adding that the practice will continue “until things change.”

As part of the measures, the cruise lines have agreed to provide up-to-date medical records for all crew members, to include COVID-19 test results taken 24 to 48 hours prior to ships' arrival. Crew members received additional medical screening here before heading to the quarantine location.

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