Albuquerque couple aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship will head to quarantine

Katie Ramirez
March 10, 2020

Tired passengers aboard a cruise ship idled at sea for days by a coronavirus outbreak erupted in cheers on Monday as the vessel sailed into San Francisco Bay en route to the Port of Oakland and the next, unexpected phase of their voyage - two weeks of quarantine.

The 2,400 passengers, who have been largely confined to their staterooms since Thursday, were to begin disembarking on Monday for transport to quarantine stations or hospitals, depending on whether they are well or need immediate medical attention.

The ship has travelled to an undisclosed location outside San Francisco Bay where it will sit out a two-week quarantine of the crew.

Maritime cruise ship ports are uncertain how COVID-19 will impact what was initially expected to be a banner year.

It's not clear how numerous critically ill passengers tested positive for the virus, according to Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for the California Office of Emergency Services.

Nearing the Bay Bridge and the Port of Oakland.

Michele Smith, 57, of Paradise, California, said a doctor knocked on her and her husband's cabin before dawn and asked if they had a fever or a cough.

Ms Hanlon told BBC Breakfast: "We got up for breakfast on Wednesday morning and we had something through our door and that was the first we knew of it".

The Grand Princess cruise ship is due to head for Oakland, California. The cruise line also offered ounselors to speak to over the phone with people aboard the ship.

The Grand Princess crew, meantime, will be quarantined aboard the ship. They have another cruise scheduled in June with Viking Cruises in Norway, but the company has already notified guests that they can cancel without penalty.

Spokespeople for the cruise company and for Port Everglades did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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They have been told the 21 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 on the ship are 19 crew members and two passengers. In the end, almost 700 people among the 3,700 passengers tested positive for the disease, and at least six people have died.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says there is a danger ships could voyage to areas with confirmed or unknown cases of the novel coronavirus.

The crew will be quarantined aboard the ship.

Medical personnel on board the vessel.

Under plans announced on Sunday, California residents were to go to two existing quarantine sites near Sacramento and San Diego.

The out of state passengers will be taken to military bases in Texas and Georgia for their quarantines.

A spokesman said: "We are working intensively with the U.S. authorities on arrangements for a flight for British nationals who are now on the Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California".

The Port of Oakland was chosen for docking because of its proximity to an airport and a military base, Newsom said.

The ship has been held off the coast amid evidence it was the breeding ground for a cluster of more than 20 cases from a February 11 to 21 voyage.

She adds that the cruise ship has provided free internet service, counselling and channels of communication for people aboard the ship.

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