British Ship Stranded With Coronavirus Cases Is Heading to Cuba for Flights Back to the UK
A stranded British cruise ship is making its way to Cuba, where passengers will be allowed to disembark after five people tested positive for coronavirus and several more showed influenza-like symptoms, according to the cruise line.
In total, 25 guests and 27 crew have been placed in isolation on the Braemar, a Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines ship, including a doctor and the five people who tested positive for Covid-19.
The ship was rerouted to Cuba after it spent time floating off the coast of the Bahamas to replenish food and medical supplies. While there, two doctors and two nurses joined the ship to help the medical team on board, according to USA Today.
On March 2, the ship made an unscheduled stop in St. Maarten, so passengers could disembark and take a charter flight back to the U.K. while some new guests boarded and continued on toward Jamaica, CNN reported. The ship was expected to go to several more destinations, including Panama, Colombia, and Curacao, before reaching Barbados on March 12. However, it was forced to change direction to the Bahamas after the coronavirus tests came back positive.
Once passengers arrive in Havana, they are expected to be flown back to the U.K. on Wednesday evening, according to the cruise line. Anyone exhibiting flu-like symptoms will be on a separate flight. The flights will be operated by British Airways, the company said in a tweet.
“At this stage, our priority is to get all guests home,” the company wrote in a statement on their website.
Those who can’t travel due to health reasons will be treated in Cuba.
There are currently 682 passengers on board, far less than the 929 passengers the Braemar can hold. The ship can also accommodate 371 crew members, according to the cruise line.
This ship is the latest to be stranded following the discovery of coronavirus on board. Recently, the Grand Princess ship was quarantined in California after a former passenger who had cruised on the same ship died of coronavirus. And the Diamond Princess was quarantined for weeks in Japan, when a passenger from Hong Kong contracted the virus.