Dozens of tour operators and craft vendors in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, were left disappointed this morning after cruise passengers were denied entry to the resort town.
The MSC Meraviglia vessel with 4,500 passengers and over 1,600 crew members arrived at the port at about 8:30 a.m.
Following an inspection by port health officials, it was discovered that a sick crew member was placed in isolation on board.
The crew member reportedly had a cough, fever and associated muscle pains with a travel history to a country of interest relating to the novel corona virus.
The decision was made that the ship’s passengers would not be allowed to disembark.
This led to many tour operators losing out on revenue for the day.
President of Maxi Tours, Horace Taylor, notes that close to a hundred buses from JUTA, JCAL and Maxi tours were scheduled to transport visitors from the ship to various attractions in St. Ann and other locations.
He says while the drivers understand the reason for the cancellation, it was a major blow to those involved in the transportation sector, as on average each bus lost out on approximately US $300 in revenue.
With the corona virus having infected more than 80,000 persons in some 34 countries, Mr. Taylor says operators are also concerned for their safety as they carry out their duties.
Meantime, Mr. Taylor explains that there needs to be a more effective system of communication in place from the authorities at the port, as he says operators and other stakeholders were left unclear as to what was happening this morning.