A cruise ship with coronavirus patients prepares to come ashore after it received permission by US authorities to dock in Oakland.
The 107,517 gross ton Grand Princess, operated by US cruise line Princess Cruises, has been stranded off the coast of San Francisco for several days due to the coronavirus outbreak onboard the vessel.
Out of more than 3,500 people aboard the cruise ship, 21 have been tested positive for COVID-19, the first phase of health screenings showed on Friday.
“Disembarkation will commence in order of priority, as defined and directed by both state and local authorities. It is expected to be a multiple day process,” Princess Cruises said in an update.
“The U.S. Coast Guard will be sending California Health & Human Services teams to assist with medical triage, screening and interviews, and prioritizing those who require the most acute care. To avoid delays, testing will be conducted when guests arrive at their onward destination.”
The ship will only be docked during the duration of disembarkment and passengers will not be released into the general public, according to a statement released by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES).
“Passengers who require acute medical treatment and hospitalization will be transported to health care facilities in California. If passengers do not require acute medical care following health screenings, those who are California residents will go to a federally run isolation facility within California for testing and isolation, while non-Californians will be transported by the federal government to facilities in other states,” the statement further reads.
Following the completion of the disembarkation, the crew will remain onboard and Grand Princess will depart Oakland. It will remain elsewhere for the duration of the crew’s quarantine.
As explained, Oakland was selected as the best site for the ship to disembark as there are limited docks that will be able to accommodate a ship of that size. In addition, the Port of Oakland location was the easiest to seal off, securely move passengers toward their isolation destinations and protect the safety of the public.
On March 7 and 8, two Grand Princess passengers with medical conditions not related to COVID-19 were successfully medevaced, the US Coast Guard separately. informed
Following a 14-day cruise to Hawaii, the 290-meter-long Grand Princess was ordered to remain off the Californian coast after one of the ship’s passengers had been infected with coronavirus and later died.