Coronavirus: Several Irish citizens are on cruise ship denied entry to Chile

Department of Foreign Affairs confirms it is helping ‘a number of’ citizens stuck on ship

File image of the Celebrity Eclipse cruise ship. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

File image of the Celebrity Eclipse cruise ship. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

The Department of Foreign Affairs is in contact with “a number” of Irish citizens who are on board a cruise ship that has been denied entry to Chile.

The cruise ship has been in an hours-long stand-off after Chile’s health ministry announced a ban on cruise ships docking at the country’s ports due to coronavirus fears, a move which blocked the ship from docking in San Antonio.

In a statement, the department said it was “aware of a cruise ship which was due to dock in the port of San Antonio” on Sunday morning.

“We are in contact with a number of Irish citizens on board and will provide consular assistance as required,” a spokeswoman said.

“Irish citizens who may require assistance should contact our Embassy in Chile by calling +56 9 81916981, or alternatively they can contact the duty officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin on +353 (0)1 4082000.”

The Celebrity Eclipse, a cruise ship with a capacity of about 3,000 people, attempted to dock at the port after the cruise company that operates the ship made a decision to suspend operations as a result of coronavirus travel restrictions.

In a tweet, the company said it was “working with government officials to provide a controlled debarkation plan that would ensure all guests have travel arrangements to leave the country”.

It is understood that nobody on board the ship is sick.

Quarantine

Chile announced on Saturday that it had placed 1,300 people on two other cruise ships in quarantine after an 85-year-old Briton tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.

The man showed symptoms of Covid-19 after disembarking the Silver Explorer ship in the far southern port of Caleta Tortel, 2,400km from Santiago.

The man was later transferred to a hospital in the city of Coyhaique where he tested positive for the virus.

Chile has taken a number of measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including the banning of events of more than 500 people, recommending people work from home, and ordering the quarantine of 2,600 students attending an elite private school in Santiago.

The country had 61 cases of the virus on Saturday, 18 more than was recorded on Friday.