Authorities have begun a race against time to locate thousands of passengers who traveled last month on a cruise ship linked to a Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Passengers on the vessel, both current and those exposed earlier, say the response by the company and health officials has been filled with missteps.
What We Know:
- Passengers interviewed by the LA Times have said the company, Princess Cruises, was lax on health screening protocols prior to boarding and withheld information about the risks they faced, despite the ship’s condition becoming international news.
- The latest contagion concerns branch off from the Princess Cruise trip that began on February 11 from San Francisco to Mexico. About 2,500 were on board the Grand Princess, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who gave an update Wednesday on the search for those passengers. Newsom said about half were California residents.
- On Wednesday, California reported its first death from the Coronavirus. According to health officials, the victim was a 71-year-old Northern California man with underlying medical conditions who had been on the cruise. Another passenger, a resident of Sonoma County, has been hospitalized with the virus.
- The outbreak of Coronavirus is the second for Princess Cruises. Nearly 700 passengers on the Diamond Princess in Japan were potentially exposed to the coronavirus weeks ago, forcing a massive quarantine, including about 300 Americans who were recently released from military bases after completing a 14-day isolation period.
As of March 5th, at least one California passenger has died since disembarking from the Grand Princess ship last month in San Francisco. The ship was scheduled to return to San Francisco again Wednesday, but has been held offshore, where authorities plan to check on the 21 passengers and crew that have reported symptoms.