News World Coronavirus-hit cruise ship docks in Cuba for passengers to evacuate

Coronavirus-hit cruise ship docks in Cuba for passengers to evacuate

A British cruise ship that has been stranded for more than a week in the Caribbean after several cases of the new coronavirus were confirmed onboard is set to dock in Cuba on Wednesday to allow weary passengers to disembark and fly home.

Britain’s Foreign Minister Dominic Raab expressed gratitude on Tuesday in parliament to Communist-run Cuba for offering a safe haven to the Braemar, which has more than 1,000 mainly British passengers and crew aboard after several Caribbean ports refused to let it dock.

The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has plunged the cruise industry into chaos as the global tightening of entry requirements has left many ships stranded or quarantined. Cruise lines have suspended future trips in recent days.

“Prevention and contention of new coronavirus require the efforts of entire international community,” said Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez. “Let’s reinforce health care, solidarity and international cooperation.”

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, which operates the Braemar, said it would dock at the Mariel port, just west of Havana, early on Wednesday.

Passengers would return to Britain from the capital’s international airport in the evening on four charter flights, it said, including a separate one for passengers who had received a positive diagnosis for coronavirus or displayed any flu-like symptoms.

Any not considered well enough to fly would be offered support and medical treatment in Cuba.

There are 28 passengers in isolation on the Braemar who have shown influenza-like symptoms, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines said. This includes two people who tested positive for the new coronavirus at its last port of call, Willemstad, Curaçao, on March 10.

Since then the ship was refused docking in Barbados and the Bahamas, which are both part of the British commonwealth – an irony not lost on some passengers.

“We should all remember what #Cuba has done for us, stepping in when none of the British Commonwealth countries and protectorates in the region offered any help,” tweeted one passenger aboard the Braemar, Steve Dale.

The coronavirus has been slower to reach and spread in the Caribbean than much of the rest of the globe.

The Cuban government has so far confirmed seven cases in Cuba, after reporting its first ones last week.

Authorities are screening travelers at airports and have stepped up the production of face masks while banning large cultural events. Family physicians are paying more home visits to monitor local communities.

Yet the government has not canceled flights from countries hardest hit by the pandemic, restricted internal movement or banned social gatherings, in contrast to other countries in the region, eliciting concern among some Cubans, as has the arrival of the Braemar.

“There were only a few cases … but now we are filling up on more,” said Pablo Cruz Estrada, 28, while polishing up a 1948 Dodge at a car wash in Havana, known for its vintage U.S. cars. “Who would come up with such an idea?”


Top Stories

Drop in new covid cases and hospitalised, 202 and one death

  Cyprus recorded one covid-19 death over the past 24 hours, raising the number of victims to 167, 111 men and 56 women with an...

Rapid test locations on Sunday

  Here are the rapid test locations for Sunday January 17 Limassol Tassos Papadopoulos Building-Technical University Limassol (corner of Ifigeneias and Themidos) 8.30-04.30 Ayia Varvara Church Zakaki 9.00-04.30 Ayios Stylianos Church,...

Low visibility on highways as bad weather continues

  Visibility is very low on the Larnaca-Nicosia and Nicosia-Limassol highways, with the network near the Mosfiloti area becoming waterlogged. Police are calling on drivers to...

Explainer: Can Trump pardon himself? Would the courts reject the move?

  As he prepares to end a tumultuous four years as U.S. president facing potential legal jeopardy, Donald Trump has discussed the possibility of pardoning...

U.S. state capitals on edge for armed protests as Trump presidency nears end

  U.S. law enforcement officials are gearing up for pro-Trump marches in all 50 state capitals this weekend, erecting barriers and calling in their National...


Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...


No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...