Cruise ship denied entry due to coronavirus fear

MEXICO (NBC) - A cruise ship with more than 6,000 people aboard was given permission to dock in Mexico after passengers were denied entry in two Caribbean ports due to fears, later disproven, that a crew member was infected with the coronavirus.

Global cruise operator MSC Cruises said that Mexican authorities approved its ship to dock in Cozumel.

The vessel started a tour of the western Caribbean from Miami.

Jamaica and Grand Cayman had earlier barred passengers of the ship from disembarking on fears that one crew member, who has since been diagnosed with common seasonal flu, might have been infected with the coronavirus.

Cruise ships have been in the spotlight after confirmed cases of the coronavirus on the British-registered Diamond Princess approached 700 with three deaths since the ship docked at a Japanese port on February 3rd.

A document from Mexico's Health Ministry said the MSC Meraviglia had been granted "free pratique," or permission to enter the Cozumel port based on the assessment that it presented no risk of spreading disease.