ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Another cruise ship with
coronavirus victims onboard, including two fatalities, docked in Florida on
Princess Cruises spokeswoman Negin Kamali said in an email
that the Coral Princess was docking in Miami. The ship with 1,020 passengers
and 878 crew members had been in limbo for days awaiting permission to dock.
As of Thursday, Kamali said seven passengers and five crew
members had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Anyone in need of hospitalization would disembark first, the
cruise line said, although it wasn’t immediately clear when that would happen.
Those fit to fly were to begin leaving on Sunday, while others with symptoms of
respiratory illness would remain on board until cleared by ship doctors.
A day earlier, the cruise ships Zaandam and Rotterdam were
permitted to dock at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, with 14 critically ill
people taken immediately to hospitals. The remaining passengers were slowly
being allowed to board flights for home.
The Coral Princess had been on a South American cruise that
was due to end March 19 in Buenos Aires. Since then, the ship has encountered
obstacles to docking because of various port closures and cancellation of
airline flights, the cruise line said.
Passengers have self-isolated in their staterooms and meals
have been delivered by room service. Crew members also have remained in their
quarters when they are not working.
The Coast Guard said in a news release Saturday it has been
involved with processing about 120 vessels carrying some 250,000 passengers
over the past three weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Coast Guard statement said as of Saturday there are 114
cruise ships carrying 93,000 crew members either in or near U.S. ports and
waters. That includes 73 cruise ships with 52,000 crew members moored or
anchored in U.S. ports and anchorages.
The cruise line industry announced a voluntarily suspension
of most ship operations from U.S. ports on March 13. The next day, the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention announced a “no sail” order to all cruise
ships that had not suspended operations.
“We commend the decision by the cruise industry to cease
operations. However, pausing a global tourist industry does not happen
instantaneously or easily,” said Vice Admiral Dan Abel, Coast Guard deputy commandant
for operations. “The federal, state, local and industry cooperation to achieve
this feat truly represents the whole-of-nation approach directed by the
president and is essential to fighting the spread of this virus and working to
minimize the loss of life.”
Princess Cruises is a brand of Miami-based Carnival Corp.,
the world’s largest cruise company.
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