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Yes, Caribbeans’ evacuation on cruise ships after volcano targeting only COVID-19 vaccinated persons

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Claim: Cruise ships are only evacuating Caribbeans who have been vaccinated

The Vincentian Prime Minister gave this evacuation order, following precautions to allow cruise ships to transport Vincentian residents to neighbouring island countries.

Full text

On 9 April 2021, a 4000 foot high volcano, La Soufriere, which erupted on the eastern Caribbean island, St Vincent and the Grenadines, necessitated an evacuation order of Carribeans into cruise ships and neighbouring islands from the Vincentian Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves. Following this, a number of reports, including a video on Instagram suggest that cruise ships facilitating the evacuation are only taking COVID-19 vaccinated persons. This claim was flagged to Dubawa by Facebook as part of our third party fact-checking agreement. 

Photo source: Instagram

Verification

Dubawa found a video showing the speech where the Vincentian Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves gave the evacuation order and found the claim to be true.

“The Chief Medical Officer will be identifying persons who are already vaccinated so that we can get them on the ship,” Gonsalves said in a press conference.

Gonsalves added that the cruise ships were volunteering to transport Vincentian residents to neighbouring islands Barbados, Grenada, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda and St. Lucia; however, only COVID-19 vaccinated persons would be allowed onto the cruise ships out of caution. He explained that the ships did not have enough personnel to keep people on the ships but the ships had enough personnel to transport passengers. 

He also assured that thousands of people who have not yet been vaccinated remained on land on Friday and are staying at local hotels in safe zones.

Several news outlets such as Business Insider AfricaJerusalem Post, ABC news and Daily Mail have reported on the claim.

Conclusion

The claim that cruise ships are only evacuating Caribbeans who have been vaccinated is true. The Vincentian Prime Minister gave this evacuation order out of precaution to allow these cruise ships working voluntarily to transport Vincentian residents to neighbouring island countries.

Maxine Gloria Danso is a Senior Researcher with Dubawa Ghana. Maxine has previously worked as a Research Assistant engaging in some notable communication research projects in Ghana, having completed a Master of Philosophy programme in Communication Studies at the University of Ghana, with specialisation in journalism, public relations and advertising. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and French from the University of Ghana, with a University Diploma in French Studies from Université Rennes 2 in France. Maxine contributes to the team by drawing from her knowledge and research experience in media studies.

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