Government defends decision to allow cruise ships to visit St Kitts-Nevis

The St Kitts-Nevis government has defended its decision to allow two ships of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to visit the twin island federation, saying that it had not rushed into the decision given the measures in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris said much consideration and deliberation had taken place over a two-week period before the go ahead had been given for the visits of the ships – Rhapsody of the Seas and Vision of the Seas.

The Rhapsody of the Seas was scheduled to dock at Port Zante today, but its arrival has been delayed as health experts consider additional information. The Vision of the Seas is expected to arrive on August 24.

“We looked at the pros and cons and we sought the input of the [COVID-19] task force. They advised that it would be safe once certain protocols were put in place. Our task force has never given us any bad advice,” Harris said during the edition of his “Leadership Matters” programme.

“They have been right on everything, for example the lockdown, the opening of our beaches, the wearing of masks, the reopening of our factories and our early childhood centers, and reducing the curfew. I know we can and should trust their judgement,” Harris added.

He noted that the experts advised that the risk associated with the granting of safe harbouring for the two vessels is very low.

Harris said in granting the approval, the crews of both vessels were all required to have a negative RT- PCR COVID-19 test before boarding from their home countries, as well as being placed in quarantine on the ship under the supervision of the ship’s doctor for 14 days before assuming duties and physically interacting with the rest of the crew.

The authorities were also to review of the health records of all crew members to show they are in good health.

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