CHARLOTTE AMALIE — St. Thomas Senator Marvin Blyden has issued a letter to Senate President Novelle Francis requesting that he schedule an immediate meeting of the Committee of the Whole to discuss issues surrounding COVID-19, more commonly known as the coronavirus.
Senator Blyden expressed his concerns about the risks the ongoing outbreak poses to public health and the economy of the territory.
“The tourism industry puts us at greater risk than many jurisdictions due to the high volume of daily visitor traffic from around the world. At the same time, our tourism industry is vulnerable to fears raised by the coronavirus, since travel is one of the first things to be curtailed in the face of a global pandemic”, said the Senator.
Meanwhile, the British Virgin Islands turned away the mega cruise ship Costa Favolosa on Wednesday “to err on the side of caution” because it had sick passengers on board and some of its passengers had flown directly from Italy, which has 300 known cases of the coronavirus.
The Costa Favolosa has a total of five ports of calls in the Caribbean and it was scheduled to call in Sint Maarten Thursday, Martinique today, and then finally Guadeloupe on Saturday before returning to its home port in La Romana, Dominican Republic, according to Cruise Hive.
The community is encouraged to call his office at 340-693-3572 for additional information about the meeting and visit his Facebook page to read the letter in full, and also stay updated on passed legislation and upcoming hearings.
St. Thomas is the most popular cruise ship port in the Caribbean and attracted at least 619,610 passengers from all over the world in 2019.
People spent the most money coming off of cruise ships in the region at the ports in Charlotte Amalie last year.