• Belize Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, has told U.S. State Department the cruise ship will not be allowed to port. • Dallas healthcare worker who did lab work for Patient Zero, Thomas Duncan, is on board, exhibiting Ebola symptoms and quarantined. • Armed Belize Coast Guard refuse to allow docking for emergency airlift. • Belizean Harbor pilot also not permitted to leave ship. • Belize Government Issues Press Release.
Overnight – U.S. Media not yet reporting on the severity of the incident – Galveston, Texas-based Carnival Magic cruise ship anchored at Stake Bank off Belize’s coast.
One passenger said the announcement of the woman’s presence has created “utter panic” on the Carnival Magic cruise ship, while others remained outwardly unfazed, sunbathing by the outdoor pool.
“People are scared,” passenger Jon Malone told ABC News as the ship was waiting miles off shore from Cozumel, Mexico. “I’ve seen people crying.” (read more)
Belize Cruise Ship Report at 1:01:35 Of broadcast (link)
ALSO: UPDATE: US STATE – LEVEL REQUESTS FOR DISEMBARKATION AND TRANSFER TO AIR AMBULANCE WERE DENIED AND THE CRUISE SHIP HAS LEFT BELIZE’S WATERS. THE SHIP TURNED AT 9:00PM, AND AIR AMBULANCE LEFT PGIA AIRPORT.
BELIZE – Reports tonight are that two individuals possibly infected with the Ebola virus are in Belizean waters. Local TV station Channel 7 monitored in the capital City Of Belmopan tonight, reported having credible reports that a couple from a Texas-based cruise ship presently anchored off Belize City, is on a ship tender, unable to return to the cruise ship, while being refused entry to Belize City to catch an air ambulance awaiting at the International Airport to take them to the their country of origin, the U.S.A.
The television station in its broadcast tonight said Belize health authorities contacted tonight have so far refused to deny or confirm the report. The patient exhibiting Ebola symptoms has been confirmed to be a nurse at a Dallas hospital traveling with her husband.
Later tonight in breaking news, Channel 5 Belize reported that it has:
“Confirmed with representatives of the 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. 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 Belize Coast Guard has been deployed to prevent anyone from leaving the ship; including the Belizean pilot on board.”
In a press conference held last weak, Belize’s Ministry of Health stated that in the event of an outbreak of Ebola in Belize, no patient would be allowed into the commercial capital Belize City, where most of the Belize government cabinet officials reside.
The MOH stated that the government hospital, the Karl Heuesner Memorial Hospital has but one Intensive Care Unit and they would not allow this to be overrun with Ebola patients. Belize is a a very poor country on the Yucatan Peninsula that depends to a large extent on tourism and grants from Venezuela for its foreign exchange income. Belize City is currently the main port of call for cruise ships.
Update: Channel 7 news anchor Indira Craig has posted on her Facebook page that Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow in a callous move in view of very close Belize-U.S. relations, has denied entry into Belize for the stricken U.S. nationals to be air lifted to the U.S.A. for treatment:
“Talks have concluded with the PM and The US State Department officials. Belize WILL NOT BE GRANTING ACCESS to the suspected passengers to have entry onto our shores. An official release will be sent out shortly by government followed by a press conference to be held tomorrow. Passports have been returned so this scare has ended.”
In a late night official press release issued by the Belize Press Office, the Belize government offered its version of the Belize Ebola Incident.
It stresses that while the patient did not disembark in Belize, it does not address the question that thousands of cruise ship passengers that may have had contact with the patient(s) did in fact disembark and tour Belize City today:
Belmopan. October 16, 2014. The Government of Belize was contacted today by officers of the U.S. 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 U.S. 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 morning to further address any concerns that may arise from this event. (read more)