US cruise ship Coral Princess confirms 12 COVID-19 cases

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WASHINGTON: At least 12 people on board US cruise ship Coral Princess have tested positive for COVID-19, the company said, making the vessel yet another one of its kind to be hit by the disease.

“In response to a reported small cluster of cases of respiratory illness and in an abundance of caution, Coral Princess proactively collected and sent 13 COVID-19 test samples to Barbados on March 31. We can confirm the results yielded 12 positive cases (seven guests and five crew),” Princess Cruises said in a statement on Thursday.

The ship is en route to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with an estimated arrival date of April 4, said the statement, adding the company “continues to remain in contact with local officials regarding disembarkation details”, reports Xinhua news agency.

There are 1,898 people on board including 1,020 passengers and 878 crew members, according to the company. While passengers were asked to self-isolate in their staterooms, the crew will remain in their staterooms when not working, and face masks are being distributed on the ship, the statement said.

Princess Cruises has been a hot spot of the coronavirus’ transmission on cruise ships.

Its Diamond Princess was hit by the virus in Japan in February, while the Grand Princess in California last month.

The coronavirus outbreak on board Coral Princess came a day after the US Coast Guard issued an order Wednesday, directing all ships operating in American waters with more than 50 persons on board to stay offshore indefinitely and increase their on-board medical capabilities, personnel and equipment in order to care for people who contracted COVID-19 or other influenza-like illness.

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