US tests passengers stranded by coronavirus cruises

LOS ANGELES: Passengers on a cruise ship stranded on the San Francisco coast were confined to their cabins on Thursday while tests were being conducted to determine if any of the nearly 3,500 guests and the crew had contracted the new coronavirus.

Authorities said the Great Princess, which was scheduled to dock on Wednesday, would remain at sea until the test results of those who showed symptoms of the virus were known.

They said they had flown test kits to the ship on Thursday morning and the findings were expected to be announced early on Friday.

Carolyn Wright, a passenger, told AFP that the captain announced Thursday night that there were no confirmed cases of coronavirus and that the final results would be announced the next day.

Health officials gave the alarm after two passengers who had been on board during a previous trip between San Francisco and then became ill and one of them died.

Several other passengers who had stayed on the ship for their next trip to Hawaii He also developed flu-like symptoms during that trip.

Authorities said there were 2,383 passengers and 1,100 crew on board the ship.

Wright said there was no panic on board and that people seemed to be taking the wrong turn.

I can't get over how the news is sensationalizing our ship, said the 63-year-old professional photographer from New Mexico who was traveling with a friend.

There were two cases on the previous cruise and they act as if everyone on board had the plague.

She said the passengers had been free to roam the ship, but on Thursday they were told after lunch to stay in their cabins.

I think everything is closing the barn after the horse is gone, Wright said through text messages.

I am not really worried. If you look at the odds, our risk is quite low.

She said the passengers, most of them between 60 and 90 years old, were in a good mood although that may change if we are stuck in our cabins for too long.

Everyone was calm and happy until now, he said.

But room service does not respond and people will quickly get angry without food or liquor.

Health officials said it was unclear when or where the ship would be allowed to dock.

Several agencies are working to determine if Covid-19 is present on the ship, Mary Ellen Carroll, head of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, told reporters, referring to the formal name of the virus.

She said 35 people had shown flu-like symptoms during the 15-day cruise, but many have already recovered.

Carroll said that once the test results have returned, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and California state officials will determine the most appropriate location to dock the ship.

The location must ensure the safety of the surrounding community, as well as passengers and crew, he said.

The CDC and the state are considering a number of locations, including San Francisco.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said authorities were trying to contact some of the 2,500 passengers who were aboard the previous trip.

The Great Princess belongs to the same company that operated: the ship affected by the coronavirus that stayed away from Japan last month, of which more than 700 people tested positive and six died.

Worldwide, more than 3,000 people have died from the rapidly spreading virus that has infected more than 100,000 people in about 85 countries.