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21 coronavirus cases confirmed on cruise ship off California coast

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: wistv.com

21 people aboard the Grand Princess, a cruise ship being held off the California coast, including 19 crew, have tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus. US Department of Health and Human Resources (HHS) officials are working with California authorities to bring her to a non-commercial port, where its officials can test everyone aboard for the virus. The HHS has given no word on where the ship might dock. It’s the second Princess cruise ship to be struck by the virus. A month ago, the Diamond Princess was quarantined in Yokohama Harbour.

“Those that will need to be quarantined will be quarantined. Those who require medical help on the cruise ship will receive it.”

The US death toll from the coronavirus climbed to 16 after health department officials in the state of Florida confirmed yesterday that two people who tested positive for the virus had died. It was the first report of deaths on the East Coast, AP reports. The number of infections has risen to over 200, scattered across about half the United states.

President Donald Trump, speaking at the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said he “would have preferred not to” let the cruise ship passengers disembark.

The cruise ship was heading from Hawaii to San Francisco when it was ordered to stop and keep its distance from shore. HHS officials tested 46 people with possible coronavirus symptoms after reporting that a passenger on a previous voyage of the cruise ship, in February, died of the disease. On Thursday, a military helicopter crew lowered test kits onto the 951-foot cruise ship. It later flew them for analysis at a state health department lab.

In the past few days, HHS authorities revealed that at least 10 other people who were on the same journey were also found to be infected, and that some passengers on that trip stayed aboard for the current voyage, increasing crew members’ exposure to the virus.

The virus has infected more than 100,000 people worldwide and killed over 3,400, the vast majority of them in China. Most cases have been mild, and more than half of those infected have made a full recovery.

SOURCES: Chiang Rai Times | AP

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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