Cuba welcomes cruise ship with COVID-19, others seek ports

  • FILE - In this April 14, 2008 file photo, the Fred Olson Cruise Liner Braemar is docked at the port in Havana, Cuba. On Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020 the Dominican Republic turned back the Braemar because some on board showed potential symptoms of the new coronavirus COVID-19. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)

HAVANA — A British cruise ship that was turned away from several Caribbean ports after passengers fell ill with novel coronavirus is scheduled to dock in Cuba Tuesday after the island agreed to help transfer those aboard to planes bound for the United Kingdom.

The Cuban government said it had decided to allow the Braemar to dock in the port of Mariel, about 35 miles west of the capital, “due to the urgency of the situation and the risk to the lives of sick people.”

Fred. Olsen Cruises said that the ship had 22 passengers and 21 crew members in isolation after displaying flu-like symptoms and five aboard who tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The ship with more than 1,000 people aboard has been turned away from ports in Curacao and Barbados in recent weeks, leading to an intense search for a way to get its mostly British passengers and its crew home.

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