Over one thousand ship workers who are aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Adventure of the Seas, which arrived at the Falmouth Port in Trelawny, Jamaica, will be allowed to disembark in stages.
The process, which begins on Thursday, will see 1,044 ship workers being processed, an exercise that could take up to 14 days.
The announcement, which was made by Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness at a Press Conference on Monday night, was well received by thousands of family members who gathered at the Falmouth Port decked out in colors of the Jamaican flag, with Jamaican flags in their hands and singing the country’s Anthem.
In making the announcement, Prime Minister Holness stated that the Ministry of Health and Wellness will create a sterile zone around the port to conduct COVID-19 testing. The Prime Minister explained that the Jamaicans will disembark in groups of 200 every 48-72 hours and taken to Bahia Principe hotel in St Ann.
The time window is to allow for the test results.
Prime Minister Holness said ship workers who test positive will go into state quarantine for 14 days while those who test negative will be allowed to quarantine at home for the same period. Some members on the ship have been in quarantine on the vessel for over 4 weeks.
Persons in-home quarantine will have their location tracked and must do a video check-in multiple times a day, Holness said.
“I understand the frustration the ship workers are facing, they are eager to see their families, we well understand but Jamaica is a country of rules. Rules don’t mean we can’t have sympathy and empathy to ensure that suffering is minimized”, said Prime Minister Holness.
He continued “we have learned a tough lesson as a government…we took note of the hardship cases right across the government and we brought them back. In bringing them back, we were not able to give them the good experience that they deserve, we cannot afford that to happen again, we have to ensure that we perfect the arrangements”.
Mr. Holness said over 9,000 repatriation applications have been received by the government. He disclosed that the government is working to bring home nearly 900 additional Jamaican cruise ship workers.
On the weekend, Prime Minister Holness released a statement saying that there would be a “serious” breach of good faith if Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines intends to sail to Jamaica without notice or approval.
A meeting was held with the top brass of the Cruise Ship along with The Cabinet on Monday and approval was given for the docking of the ship.