Tourism minister to visit virus-scare ship

  • Zane DeSilva, the Minister of Tourism and Transport (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Zane DeSilva, the Minister of Tourism and Transport (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The tourism minister will board a ship at the centre of a scare over a deadly strain of coronavirus when it arrives today.

Zane DeSilva, the Minister of Tourism and Transport, said he would get on the Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas from a pilot boat before it arrived in port to help alleviate public concerns.

Mr DeSilva said: “Recently there has been much speculation and misinformation surrounding the Anthem of the Seas arrival in Bermuda.

“In efforts to put to rest any lingering doubt or uncertainty around the safety of this ship, I will board and journey with all passengers and crew into Dockyard and be the first to set foot in Bermuda.”

Mr DeSilva added: “They say actions speak louder than words and, so, I hope that my actions will be heard by all and we will know that the ship, its crew and passengers are safe, the Government has taken the necessary precautions and Bermuda has nothing to fear.”

The Anthem of the Seas made international headlines after four passengers on an earlier cruise were taken to hospital last week amid fears they might have the potential killer coronavirus strain.

However, tests, confirmed by the US Centres for Disease Control, later showed none of the passengers had the virus.

Bermuda’s Ministry of Health and port authorities have said they are prepared for the ship’s visit.

Dragan Pavkovic, the manager of Dockyard’s Frog&Onion Pub and Restaurant, said he and his staff had no fears over the visit.

He added: “It’s created unnecessary drama; people get jumpy as soon as they hear somebody is sick.

“They had a few sick passengers, they tested them, they proved negative on the coronavirus and life goes on.”

He added that the staff were on good terms with crew members and looked forward to welcoming them.

Mr Pavkovic said: “We’ve had parties for them, so I’m sure those crew members are very happy to come to Bermuda. It’s unfortunate for the passengers that they couldn’t go to the Bahamas because they’re delayed, but I think it’s fortunate for us.”

He added that the restaurant was geared up for an influx of customers.

Mr Pavkovic said: “It’s been a quiet season, so it’s going to be a little wake-up call.

“We have to be on our game the whole year. It’ll just be another day in the office.”

A spokeswoman for the operators of Dockyard Glassworks and the Bermuda Rum Cake Company admitted that staff had some concerns about potential risk of sickness after the scare in its home port of Bayonne, New Jersey.

The spokeswoman added: “You have to trust your government. If it’s clear, it’s clear.”

She said: “It’s in the back of your mind, but we just have to trust what we have to trust.”

A colleague at The Dockyard Glassworks added: “We’ll take our own safety precautions, but I don’t want anybody to panic over it.

“We shouldn’t be panicking about this, not if it’s a non-event. People don’t need that kind of stress.”

The virus, which first appeared in Wuhan, China, has killed more than 1,000 people and infected more than 42,000 in the country.

A total of 27 countries have recorded cases of the new coronavirus strain.

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Published Feb 12, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 12, 2020 at 11:18 am)

Tourism minister to visit virus-scare ship

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