Above: Carnival Magic
By the Caribbean Journal staff
A Dallas health worker whose presence on the Carnival Magic led to a major Ebola scare has tested negative for the virus, according to officials.
The worker, who was suspected to have handled Ebola lab samples from Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who later died of the virus as Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, had been in a quarantine on the ship.
Her presence led to the ship’s immediate return to port, after Mexican officials denied clearance for the ship’s scheduled call on the island of Cozumel.
Carnival said that when the worker first boarded the ship last Sunday, she was “not in a risk category that required restriction of movement based on CDC guidelines.”
That changed, however, when the CDC changed its protocols, placing her in “active monitoring category.”
While US officials had initially requested permission to fly the worker back to the United States when the ship was off the coast of Belize, Belizean officials denied the request, citing safety concerns.
Carnival said normal debarkation for the remainder of passengers on the ship began at 7AM Sunday morning.
While health authorities did not request any special cleaning requirements, Carnival said it was “undertaking a very comprehensive and aggressive cleaning and sanitizing initiative prior to guests boarding for the next voyage.”
The company said guests for the next voyage were expected to board later Sunday afternoon.