(NOW GRENADA) – Tourism Minister, Clarice Modeste, has confirmed that several Grenadians who are crew members of cruise ships that are presently not sailing because of Covid-19 regulations will be returning to Grenada between 4–15 May 2020.
“Right now, as I speak to you, the date for St George’s arrival is not finalised based on the correspondence I saw, but I can confirm to you that they will be returning this month,” she said on Monday.
The nationals will not be arriving via aircraft landing at Maurice Bishop International Airport, but from a cruise ship whose sole purpose is to drop workers at home port destinations in this region. Apart from Grenada, the minister was not aware which other islands will be visited before or after St George’s.
She further explained that because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the US had issued a “no sail order” for cruise ships in US waters. That order according to the Federal Register will be for 100 days beginning 15 April and ending 24 July 2020.
Some ships left US ports before the order came into effect and headed for ports in the Caribbean such as the Bahamas where the US has no jurisdiction. “Some of the ships are already in Caribbean waters and the management believes it’s much easier to get them home using a ship than using an aircraft,” she said.
Modeste, who is a medical doctor by profession, said that she fully understands that science for Covid-19 is continuously evolving and as a result all returning nationals on the cruise ship will be tested and quarantined for the required number of days as advised in WHO health protocols.
“Some are saying that the time on the ship can be counted as quarantine time, but we will follow the rules once they are in Grenada and have them be quarantined, while at the same time allowing them to have a form of communication with families here,” she said. “We have already identified a place for them,” she said but did not share the location.
The cost for the quarantine, which will be a period of no less than 14 days, will be shared between the state and the cruise ship management. “We already had that discussion and we have agreed on a format for the cost to take care of the bill which will incur,” she said.
An early estimate shows that it costs the state approximately EC$9,500 to keep a person in quarantine for 14 days. While in quarantine, all the crew members will have samples sent to the laboratory for PCR Covid-19 testing.
Worldwide, Covid-19 which is caused by a novel coronavirus, has infected millions and caused the death of thousands. To date, there have been 21 confirmed cases in Grenada.