Coronavirus: Twelve cases confirmed on Princess Cruises ship

Twelve cases of coronavirus have been confirmed on the ship Coral Princess.

It is the third Princess Cruises ship to have contracted the deadly virus following a mass outbreak on board Diamond Princess quarantined in Japan and Grand Princess off the California coast.

The line confirmed on Thursday that Covid-19 tests confirmed 12 positive cases – seven passengers and five crew.

Coral Princess is on its way to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale with an estimated arrival date of April 4.

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“Princess Cruises continues to remain in contact with local officials regarding disembarkation details,” a spokesperson said.

The port previously refused access to stranded coronavirus-hit Holland America Line ship Zaandam before intervention by US president Donald Trump which saw the vessel arrive on Thursday.

Coral Princess is carrying 1,020 passengers, who are self-isolating in their cabins, and 878 crew.

“Due to limited flight availability, Coral Princess will remain alongside in Fort Lauderdale for two days to allow all guests to proceed directly from the ship to the airport,” the line said.

“Princess is also working with US Customs and Border Protection to ensure smooth arrival into port. We are also in regular contact with multiple embassies and consulates.”

The ship originally left San Antonio in Chile on a South America voyage on March 5 which was scheduled to end in Buenos Aires on March 19.

But Princess Cruises announced a 60-day pause of operations on March 12 due to the global spread of coronavirus, with a directive to end each cruise as soon as possible.

The ship was then denied the ability to let passengers leave at ports in South America and last made a service call into Bridgetown, Barbados, on Tuesday to take on extra provisions.

Coral Princess was forced to “abruptly depart” Buenos Aires late on March 19, before all passengers were disembarked after Argentine president Alberto Fernandez issued a decree which would have required the ship to remain in port for an “indeterminate” number of days.

“Therefore, the decision was made to leave port immediately,” Princess Cruises said.

The vessel then sailed to Montevideo in Uruguay for supplies and fuel on March 20.

Attempts to disembark passengers in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil was denied three days later.

But at the end of March Coral Princess reported a “higher-than-normal” number of people presenting influenza-like symptoms, resulting in passengers being confined to their cabins and face masks being distributed.


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