• The following statement was released by One Bermuda Alliance MP Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, Shadow Minister of Health…

Alarm bells rang this weekend,  when Bermudians learned that the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Anthem of the Seas,  is due to dock in Bermuda on Wednesday of this week.  This ship had been quarantined in Bayonne New Jersey, due to fears around some passengers being infected with the corona virus.

While the Governor of New Jersey has confirmed, by tweet,  that all four passengers from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship docked in Bayonne, New Jersey tested negative for novel coronavirus, and that the risk to residents remains low, it is still a great to concern to Bermudians, that this ship will be coming here.

The incubation period for the corona virus could be as long at 14 days. So not presenting symptoms certainly does not equate to being virus free.

The World Health Organisation states that to date, the corona virus has killed more than 800 people in China, and that currently, there are now more than 37,000 cases worldwide.  We are all well aware that Bermuda’s hospital and  health care infrastructure cannot withstand an epidemic like the corona virus.

Further, no ship can enter into Bermuda waters without the proper Bermuda authorities and ministers being notified and made aware of, among other things, the crew list,  the passenger list, the anticipated arrival date of the vessel and the expected departure date.  So at the time that Royal Caribbean made their “change of itinerary” announcement, the Bermuda Government was well aware that the ship was destined for Bermuda.

What continues to be of concern to the general public is the fact that this Government continues to make decisions that have the potential to detrimentally affect our entire population (think health care reform), without giving any care or thought as to impact or, more importantly, how the people feel of Bermuda feel about this.

The Bermuda Government’s “reactionary” statement to Royal Caribbean’s announcement that they would be coming to Bermuda is becoming all too typical of this Government.   And while New Jersey may be comfortable that there are no episodes of the virus in that state at this juncture, the truth is that they really just don’t know, and unfortunately, this is a situation where only time will tell the real story.  The confirmation by another jurisdiction as to their health and safety is in no way a guarantee that Bermuda will be protected, and that we have the ability to manage this challenge, should even one incident of the Coronavirus surface.