Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday that the Princess Cruises’ Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California will dock this weekend in a “non-commercial port” and all passengers and crew will be tested for coronavirus.
Speaking at the White House on Friday evening, Pence said that 46 people on board the ship had been swabbed. Of these, 21 tested positive for the virus, he said, 24 were negative and one of the tests was inconclusive. Pence said that of the 21 positive tests, 19 were crew members and two were passengers.
“It is very likely that the crew were exposed on two different trips,” said Pence. “And we know that the coronavirus appeared among the previous passengers.”
The vice president said the crew members would likely be quarantined on board the vessel.
“We will test everyone on the ship,” said Pence.
In a Friday afternoon local time announcement, the captain of the Grand Princess shared the test results with those on board through the loudspeaker.
In a video obtained by USA TODAY, it can be heard that those infected on board “will continue to stay in quarantine in their cabins”, until they can be transferred to shore hospitals.
The captain also said that the California Department of Public Health had asked all guests to stay in their rooms.
It is unclear when and where the ship will dock.
Over 3,500 people were waiting for news of test results new ship-related cases have been uncovered.
In addition to a A 71-year-old man who died of a coronavirus after sailing on the ship’s previous trip, the Associated Press reports that health officials have revealed that at least nine other people on the same excursion were also infected. And some passengers on this trip stayed on board for the current trip.
Carson City Health and Human Services, Nevada, confirmed on Friday that it is also monitoring “a few” people in its jurisdiction who are related to the cruise ship Grand Princess.
Authorities have ordered the ship to stay away until tests are completed on those on board who were on the previous voyage and those on board who show symptoms of coronavirus.
“The ship will not come ashore until we have properly assessed the passengers,” Governor of California Gavin Newsom said on Thursday.
The California Department of Public Safety in Sunnyvale has confirmed the Twitter that another cruiser who may have been on board the ship has died, although it is unclear whether he had a coronavirus.
“While obtaining the patient’s medical history, a family member informed us that the patient had recently taken a cruise on which two other passengers were suspected of having COVID-19,” said Phan Ngo, department head of Sunnyvale public safety. “At this time, we do not yet know if the patient had COVID-19.”
USA TODAY contacted the city of Sunnyvale and Princess Cruises for more information.
Shortly after 1 pm Friday, local time, the captain of the Grand Princess made an announcement to the passengers, who had all been confined to their rooms while awaiting test results.
“Allowing everyone to enjoy the fresh air and the outdoors is a top priority,” can be heard in a video obtained by USA TODAY. “Unfortunately, for the moment, we have not received the approval of the local authorities.”
The master also said that, as a “great precaution”, information on the prescriptions would be collected from passengers in case they remain on board last Saturday.
People aboard the Grand Princess may have been exposed to the coronavirus after sailing with 62 passengers who, according to company officials, had previously traveled to Mexico with a man who ultimately died of the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised clients to stay in their rooms for the remainder of the cruise, but had not declared quarantine, according to a Princess Cruises statement released Thursday by spokeswoman Alivia Owyoung Ender.
“In many ways, our ships are small floating cities. Just as life goes on in cities for better or for worse, life also happens on board our ships, “said Princess Cruises President Jan Swartz. a video posted on Twitter Friday morning.
As of Friday afternoon, the coronavirus had infected more than 101,000 people worldwide and killed 3,460 according to data from Johns Hopkins.
President Trump says White House is involved
US President Donald Trump told reporters in the White House diplomatic room on Friday that he had told Newsom about the detention of the Grand Princess off the coast of California.
“We had a good conversation; we are both working on the ship, “he said of his conversation with Newsom. “It’s almost 5,000 people, so a big ship. We are testing these people. “
There are 2,422 passengers and 1,111 crew members representing 54 nationalities currently sailing on the Grand Princess for its trip to Hawaii, according to the cruise company.
“We have big news on the ship. A lot is happening on the ship, “said Trump at a signing ceremony for the $ 8.3 billion spending package to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
“It is a big decision because we have very low figures compared to the main countries in the world,” he said on how to manage the cruise ship. “Our numbers are lower than anyone.”
When will the cruise ship passengers disembark and where?
As the ship was to arrive at the port of San Francisco, it is unclear which “non-commercial port” Pence was referring to when he said the ship would dock this weekend.
The mayor’s office in San Francisco said in a statement Thursday that the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are in the process of determining a location that “can best respond to the health of passengers who are likely to have COVID- 19 and their safety. Passengers are not affected, as well as the surrounding community. “
How were coronavirus tests administered?
On Thursday, a military helicopter lowered test kits onto the 951-foot (290-meter) Grand Princess while the ship was at anchor off San Francisco.
Kailee Higgins Ott, a 17-year-old passenger from California’s Grand Princess, told USA TODAY that she was not worried about herself. “But I’m worried because we befriended older people on the cruise,” she said. “I worry about them and the crew.”
When she learned that 21 people had tested positive on board for the coronavirus, she said that she was “a little annoyed by the cruise company who had not announced anything and that we should hear from her about the news. afraid of missing school and all the uncertainty. We don’t know what’s going on with us yet. “
Across the hall from the Higgins Ott State Hall, guests were being tested. The medical team wore white masks over their mouths with a transparent mask. Their bodies were fully covered and they were wearing gloves.
“The test took place in the room,” she said. “There are about five doctors who helped with the test.”
A baby was also tested. She heard that this test would take longer than the others.
What does it look like for those on the ship?
Although confined to their rooms, guests will receive all meals through room service. Additional television and movie options were added to programming in each state hall, and customers received free Internet service – the ship’s bandwidth was increased, according to the cruise line.
Greg and Susan White, of Fort Collins, Colorado, are on board and were not surprised to learn that they were confined to their rooms when the announcement arrived.
Before ordering them to stay in their cabin, they said that there was a lot of “gallantry humor”, but that everyone understood the need to isolate themselves.
“Personally, it didn’t surprise me because I was on a business trip some 2,000 miles from my home on September 11 and I saw pretty much the same thing,” said White in an e -mail to Coloradoan, which is part of the USA TODAY Network. “Almost everyone cooperated fully, resigned to the fact that there was really nothing to do.”
Higgins Ott said that when passengers were informed that they should stay in their cabins, there was a rush in the shops and restaurants on board to refuel.
“There were a lot of people in the hall, there were a lot of people in the store, receiving food and fries,” said Higgins Ott Thursday at the end of the lunch break. “People tried to enter the dining rooms to do last-minute things.”
In a video recording obtained by USA TODAY of an announcement Thursday evening of the captain detailed the addition of meal delivery process to an update on the state of the tests.
“The sampling continues for the guests”, can we hear the captain. “We are awaiting the results of the test in the near future, as previously announced. We expect to receive the first results tomorrow morning.”
And for those who disembarked from his trip to Mexico?
Passenger from the trip to Mexico, Judy Cadiz de Lodi said that she and her husband Mark fell ill after their cruise but did not think much about it until another traveler died of the virus. Now, they can’t get a clear answer on how to get tested, she said.
With Mark, 65, who has a fever, the couple worries not only about himself, but about the possibility that – if he had contracted the infection – he could have passed it on to others.
“They tell us to stay at home, but no one told me until yesterday to stay at home. We were in Sacramento, we were in Martinez, we were in Oakland. We took a train back from the cruise, “said Judy Cadiz on Thursday. “I really hope we are negative so that no one gets infected.”
This is not the first Coronavirus cruise from Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises also owns the Diamond Princess, the ship that was quarantined in Yokohama, Japan, and has experienced a coronavirus epidemic that has infected more than 700 passengers.
“We have learned a lot from our recent experience in Japan, and are learning from these lessons as we continue to support our fleet and our customers,” said Swartz in the video on Twitter.
“We are on the frontier of the fight against this disease and we share what we have learned with the hotel and travel industry.”
The Princess Cruises was carrying 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew members when it set sail and was quarantined after 10 cases of coronavirus were reported on February 4. More than 400 Americans were on board the cruise ship. The State Department coordinated with the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies to bring some passengers back to the United States.
All but a handful of passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, who were quarantined at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, were released to return home on Tuesday. Passengers who have experienced symptoms during quarantine in Texas and who have tested positive for coronavirus will remain isolated.
Meanwhile, the Princess Princess of Princess Cruises encountered riots during her stopover in the port of Reunion Island, located off the southeast coast of Africa, near Madagascar on Sunday, confirmed Princess Cruises in the USA TODAY.
The reason? No more concerns about the coronavirus. No case was reported in Reunion on Wednesday, nor on the ship.
Princess Cruises said on Wednesday that there was no coronavirus problem on the ship.
“We can confirm that there are no cases of COVID-19 on board the Sun Princess. Sun Princess returns to Fremantle (Australia) as scheduled on March 10,” said Princess Cruises in a statement shared with USA TODAY by spokesperson Alivia Owyoung Ender. Wednesday.
What’s going on with future Princess cruises?
Princess has adjusted its cancellation policy, at least temporarily, to allow people who have booked an upcoming cruise to modify their plans. Those who have booked a cruise until May 31, 2020 can change their reservations, the company said.
Contributors: John Fritze, Maureen Groppe,Courtney Subramanian, USA TODAY; The Associated Press; Sady Swanson, Fort Collins Coloradoan; Sam Gross, Reno Gazette Journal