Puerto Rico calls for rigorous evaluation of sick cruise passengers

The Governor of Puerto Rico, Wanda Vázquez, this Saturday instructed the island's National Guard to make a "rigorous evaluation" of the passengers who could arrive on the island from the Zaadam and Rotterdam cruise ships that are docked in Port Everglades ( Florida, USA) and have COVID-19 sufferers on board.

The first passengers disembarked from the Zaandam and Rotterdam cruises, which are docked in Port Everglades (Florida, USA) for humanitarian reasons, traveled this Friday on charter flights to different destinations.

Both boats were moored this Thursday at different docks in Port Everglades, located 40 kilometers north of Miami, after a long and difficult journey.

In a statement, Vázquez said today that he has ordered the National Guard adjutant general, José Reyes, that once they set foot on Puerto Rican soil, they take steps to "carry out a rigorous evaluation and monitoring of these passengers."

This should include "taking the sample to verify a potential contagion of COVID-19 before leaving the airport. If the test is negative, they must be informed so that they comply with the mandatory quarantine in their residences and the required information will be taken so that personnel the Health Department can follow them up. If the result is positive, they should be taken to a hospital, "he stressed.

"We are going to protect the population from the contagion potential that these passengers had due to exposure to the cruise situation. They will be handled safely, but above all, with the sensitivity that these cases require," he added.

So far, there is information about a Puerto Rican couple who were on board the Zaandam.

"People who return to our island will receive the human sensitivity that is required during the medical screening process and will go through the same process that the over 46,000 passengers that we have previously evaluated have gone through. The required test will be administered due to the extraordinary situation for which these people have been for the past few days, following the protocols established by the Department of Health in this process, "said Reyes, for his part.

The importance of monitoring and evaluation at airports "cannot be minimized, as it is the first line of defense that we have to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Puerto Rico," said the assistant general of the Puerto Rico National Guard.

The island's secretary of state, Elmer Román, stressed that staff from his office have been in communication with the aforementioned couple.

The Zaandam and Rotterdam cruises, with more than 2,500 people on board between the two, arrived Thursday at Port Everglades, where the sickest passengers disembarked after a journey marked by the closure of the ports by COVID-19 and the death of board of four people.


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