A Princess Cruises ship was finally allowed to dock in Florida Sunday night after being held off the coast as coronavirus tests came back negative for two crew members.
According to The Associated Press, the Regal Princess vessel was scheduled to dock Sunday morning in Port Everglades but was forced to sail up and down the East Coast while members of the U.S. Coast Guard delivered coronavirus testing kits.
The two crew members who were being tested had transferred more than two weeks ago from the Grand Princess cruise ship in California, which had nearly two dozen people on board who tested positive for the virus, including 19 crew members.
#BREAKING The Regal Princess is back! Inching closer to land, after forced to stay at sea for hours. Held from docking at @PortEverglades after two crew members were thought to have the #coronavirus. The @CDCgov later confirming their tests were negative @wsvn pic.twitter.com/kXobm6n784
Passengers are now off the #RegalPrincess after they were stuck at sea for hours while two crew members were being tested for the #coronavirus. The @CDCgov later confirming both were negative @wsvn pic.twitter.com/x4p7jULwT0
Princess Cruises officials said the sick crew members showed no signs of coronavirus and were well beyond the advised 14-day virus quarantine period. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave the ship clearance late Sunday night after the tests came back negative.
Passengers were allowed to begin disembarking about an hour after the ship entered the port, with most travelers thankful they were permitted to leave in a timely fashion. Compensation requested by customers would be handled on a case-by-case basis.
In Florida, the governor’s office confirmed that two people who tested positive for the viral infection died in the state, which were the first deaths on the East Coast. The victims were in their 70s and had traveled overseas.
Cruise line executives met with Vice President Mike Pence and his team Saturday, where they were asked to establish enhanced entry and exit screenings, develop shipboard testing for the virus and institute new quarantine standards set by the CDC.
In addition, the U.S. State Department issued an advisory Sunday night against cruise travel due to an increased risk of coronavirus infections “in a cruise ship environment.”
While fear continues to mount, several travel agency-focused companies have shared statements, tips and advice on how to address the viral infection and its impact on the industry with clients.
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