News 5 Live in Belize City has posted on its Facebook Page (at about 9p.m. local Belize time) that it has confirmed with representatives of Belize’s Ministry of Health that they have indeed received a report that there is at least one passenger on board the cruise ship, Carnival Magic, showing symptoms similar to that of the Ebola virus.
The post on News 5 Live continues to read as follows:
“According to the report made to MOH, the person exhibiting the symptoms did not come ashore today. The ship is reportedly carrying 3652 passengers and a total population of 4633 persons. The Carnival Magic departed from Galveston Texas on Sunday, October 12 arrived in Mahogany Bay, Honduras on Wednesday October 15 and arrived in Belize this morning, Thursday October 16. The ship was scheduled to leave Belize en route to Cozumel this evening at 5pm. However, it is still anchored in Belizean waters near State Bank Caye. We have also have confirmed that the Coast Guard has been deployed to prevent anyone from leaving the ship; including the Belizean pilot on board.”
Belize officials are gathering the facts tonight and an official update is expected to be provided by the Ministry of Health on Friday morning. The reports are that at least one passenger is showing symptoms similar to that of the Ebola virus, but nothing has been confirmed yet. Updates will be posted as they become available. -photo courtesy of News 5 Live
Another news source in the city states that talks have concluded with the Belize Prime Minister and The US State Department officials which indicate that Belize WILL NOT BE GRANTING ACCESS to the suspected passengers to have entry onto the country. As of 9:30P.M. local Belize time, the ship and all passengers are returning to the United States of America. An official release will be sent out shortly by government followed by a press conference to be held tomorrow, October 17, 2014.
Official Press Release from Government of Belize
Cruise Ship Passenger Quarantined
- Belmopan, October 16, 2014 - The Government of Belize was contacted today by officers of the US Government and made aware of a cruise ship passenger considered of very low risk for Ebola. The passenger had voluntarily entered quarantine on board the ship and remains free of any fever or other symptoms of illness. The Ebola virus may only be spread by patients who are experiencing fever and symptoms of illness and so the US Government had emphasized the very low risk category in this case. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, the Government of Belize decided not to facilitate a US request for assistance in evacuating the passenger through the Phillip Goldson International Airport.
The GOB reassures the public that the passenger never set foot in Belize and while we remain in close contact with US officials we have maintained the position that when even the smallest doubt remains, we will ensure the health and safety of the Belizean people. The Prime Minister has called a press conference tomorrow (Friday, October 17, 2014) morning to further address any concerns that may arise from this event. - end of release -