The Enchanment of the Sea cruise ship sails into Invaders Bay, before heading to dock at the Cruise Ship Complex, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain last Friday.

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The 295 returning nationals aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas will be swabbed today as the mandatory COVID-19 quarantine comes to an end on Saturday.

This was revealed by Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh during yesterday’s COVID-19 press briefing.

The nationals, who have spent months at sea, are eager to return home and Deyalsingh said if all goes well they will be released by the weekend.

“As you know, we were unable to board the ship yesterday or bring people out for the swabbing. Right now, the Chief Medical Officer and (Principal Medical Officer, Institutions, Ministry of Health) Dr Maryam Richards, who is in charge of the logistics, are having discussions with port officials. If all goes well we will have a swabbing operation. I am hoping that after discussions with port officials, we will swab 295 people tomorrow (today),” Deyalsingh said.

Guardian Media understands that the ship will be allowed to come ashore and dock at the Cruise Ship Complex to allow health workers to access the crew for the testing since the ongoing protest by port workers hampered their ability to do so on Tuesday, the originally scheduled day for the activity.

Deyalsingh said there were six patients from the cruise ships at the Caura Hospital, noting that one more patient had to be transferred to the University of the West Indies campus for non-COVID related illness.

“So at Caura we have seven (cases) totally isolated from rest. At Couva, no one is there. At the Home of Football, no one. At UWI Penal/ Debe campus we had 50 persons and hopefully, the vast majority of them, once tests come back negative, could be home by 29 June to July 1 assuming all goes well,” Deyalsingh said.

He gave a further breakdown of those under state quarantine.

Deyalsingh also stressed that Government was not moving to make masks mandatory, saying the Attorney General has advised using moral suasion to get citizens to adhere. He said everyone had a personal responsibility to protect themselves and others.

He also said all food, groceries, computers stores, car parts outlets could stay open until 10 pm.

Responding to a threat of massive protests on July 1 by the T&T Registered Nurses’ Association, Deyalsingh said he preferred not to comment as he planned on meeting with the body on Monday to engage in constructive negotiation and conversations.

Meanwhile, counselling psychologist Camille Campbell said parents must beware of fake news which can create panic and fear among families. She said mothers in particular should practice self-care by managing their stress levels.

For those whose children are sitting examinations, Campbell said it was important to establish a routine for them and to always set the example as it relates to social distancing and hygiene.

“We can discipline ourselves from home, observe social distancing. I speak to parents preparing for SEA, CSEC and CAPE. I can’t imagine what you’re going through in this season. Exams are stressful and the added stress of COVID can create anxiety. You are in an unprecedented situation. Be kind and patient with yourself,” Campbell said.