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COVID-19 Passenger Aboard the Carnival Vista Dies After Being Hospitalized in Belize

Cruise Law News is reporting that 77-year-old retired Sunday school teacher Marilyn Tackett aboard the *Carnival Vista* to Belize and was reportedly abandoned by Carnival. Tackett contracted the deadly COVID virus on the cruise ship and began experiencing complications. The cruise ship doctor informed her family that she needed to be on ventilators which led to Tackett being transferred to a Belize hospital. According to the article, the hospital demanded payment from her family of $5,000 before it would admit her to the hospital. After a delay, the hospital then admitted her to an intensive care unit and placed her on a ventilator. An air ambulance eventually flew Tackett back to the USA where she later died. We asked BTB’s Director of Quality Management and Capacity Development, Abil Castaneda about it.

Abil Castaneda, Director, Quality Management & Capacity Development, BTB: “There’s a standard protocol even before COVID that if there’s any medical emergency on any ship whether it be cargo or cruise that the ship and the ship agent can request for a medical transfer on mainland to be able to get the persons stabilized or to treat them or in the case of the patient to be able to stabilize her to be able to take her out back to her country. So that is a standard protocol that is managed through the Ministry of Health. There is a full declaration that must be done and the Ministry of Health is the authority that determines whether or not the patient will be allowed into country or not.”

The Minister of Health and Wellness Michel Chebat was also questioned on the issue, as to whether the cruise ships are dumping their COVID-19 passengers on Belize.

Michel Chebat, Minister of Health and Wellness: “I don’t know that they’re dumping them on Belize but as a country I think we have a humanitarian responsibility to render healthcare when possible. I know of the case with the female. Before she was brought on land there were arrangements made with one of the private hospitals, the person had health insurance and so we made sure that all of those were covered before she was allowed to come on land but we must render humanitarian aid. We continue to make sure that we have an ongoing discussion with the cruise lines to make sure that we have the safest protocols in place. I mean obviously there’s never gonna be a hundred percent in everything but we try our best to make sure that we’re as safe as we possibly can.”