Californian authorities refused to allow cruise ship Grand Princess to sail back to San Francisco from Hawaii on Wednesday night after it was revealed that a man who had travelled in the ship in its previous voyage died of coronavirus. Thousands of holidaymakers in Grand Princess are stranded after officials demanded more time for testing and screening of people onboard.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said that it is feared that 11 passengers and 10 crew members are potentially infected with Covid-19.Newsom confirmed that a 71-year-old man who had travelled in the ship when it sailed to Mexico died of coronavirus, becoming the first fatality in the state.
The ship is held off the coast to allow officials more time for testing of "a number of passengers and crew members that have developed symptoms", the governor said, according to AFP. "So we're holding that ship, which (has) thousands of passengers as well, off the coast, and we'll be conducting those tests," Newsom added.
Due diligence was required as it was found that more than 60 people who were onboard during the voyage to Mexico were still in the cruise liner. These holidaymakers have been restricted to their rooms for testing, Princess Cruises, which operates the cruiseliner, said. "In an abundance of caution, these guests and other potential close crew contacts have been asked to remain in their staterooms until screened by our onboard medical team," the shipping company said.
The stranded cruise liner has more than 3,500 people on board, including more than 1,000 crew members. The company owns cruiseliner Diamond princess that was held off the coast of Japan last month owing to coronavirus infection among passengers. During the weeks-long quarantine, more than 700 people onboard tested positive for coronavirus, causing heavy criticism of the quarantine policy.
Reports of the rising number of infections meanwhile came in from around the world on Thursday, showing that the deadly virus is spreading vigorously. Though the rate of new infections in China came down, the death toll has officially surpassed 3,200. In South Korea, three more people died while nearly 450 new cases of virus infections were reported. In the United States, coronavirus deaths rose to 11, even as the lawmakers reached a deal to make $8 billion available for fighting the epidemic.
In other updates, a 36-year-old man who had been declared free of coronavirus after treatment, died in Wuhan after the virus took him ill again. The man, identified as Li Liang, started feeling unwell two days after leaving the hospital. He had been discharged from the hospital five days ago after tests proved he was free of coronavirus.
More than 3,000 people have died in China in the coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan. The South China Morning Post reported that more discharged patients are being readmitted for treatment for coronavirus in Wuhan hospitals. As per the latest data released by China, some 52,045 people have been discharged from hospitals.