Thousands leave cruise ship without screenings even after passenger gets COVID-19

Thousands of people were allowed to leave a cruise ship in Miami, Florida on Sunday without undergoing medical screening despite the positive test for COVID-19 from a passenger who had disembarked days earlier.

The former passenger got off the MSC Meraviglia in Miami on March 8 after an eight-day Caribbean cruise, leaving 103 passengers and the ship’s crew aboard for the next voyage.

Four days later, after the ship had sailed with thousands of additional new passengers aboard, the Public Health Agency of Canada informed Broward-based MSC Cruises that the former passenger had tested positive after he was screened returning back to Canada.

The cruise ship company said it isolated in individual cabins seven crew members who had been in close contact with the passenger. But instead of holding the ship off the Florida coast and testing people on board for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, MSC said U.S. health authorities cleared it to dock Sunday and disembark passengers as normal.

No one on board was tested for COVID-19 and 3,877 passengers disembarked freely at PortMiami on Sunday. Many went directly to Miami International Airport for flights home.


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