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Coronavirus concerns strand cruise passengers off California

Virus Outbreak
Posted at 6:09 PM, Mar 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-07 18:16:45-05

SAN FRANCISCO -- Thousands of anxious people are holed up in cabins on a cruise ship idling off the San Francisco Bay Area after 21 passengers and crew members tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Grand Princess is forbidden to dock in San Francisco as evidence mounts that the vessel had been the breeding ground for a cluster of coronavirus cases on a previous voyage .

One passenger agreed Saturday that she should be tested but wants officials to let her go if her results come back negative.

Nineteen people have died in the U.S. from the virus, including two deaths announced Friday in Florida.

The number of infections has swelled to 400.

Experts: Cruise ships no place for a coronavirus quarantine

The new coronavirus is posing a dilemma for cruise ships around the world. Countries on four continents have quarantined or kept at sea ships that have experienced outbreaks.

But experts warn that the strategy can backfire. That's because the ventilation systems and close quarters of cruise ships make them ideal places for illness to jump from one person to the next.

The Grand Princess was circling off the coast of California on Saturday because of the virus.

Ships have also been quarantined or turned away from ports in Japan, Egypt, Malaysia and Malta.