Cruise ship docks in San Francisco with COVID-19 cases on board

An unknown number of passengers and crew aboard a Princess Cruise ship in California have tested positive for COVID-19. The ship with the infected people docked in San Francisco on Sunday and plans to depart again on Monday afternoon.

People aboard the Ruby Princess contracted the virus during a 15-day cruise through the Panama Canal. Everyone on the ship was vaccinated before departure, Princess Cruise said. Those who tested positive for coronavirus did not pass it on to others on the ship, the company said.

“They were all asymptomatic or only mildly symptomatic and have been isolated and quarantined while being monitored and cared for by our onboard medical team,” Princess Cruise said in a statement.

Princess Cruise said some of the passengers who contracted the virus had not completed their quarantine on board the ship. Those people were either sent straight home or “placed ashore in hotels coordinated in advance for isolation and quarantine,” the company said.

This is the second time this year that the Ruby Princess has arrived in California with COVID-positive passengers on board. Twelve passengers arriving from a 10-day Mexico cruise were found to have the virus in January after being randomly tested upon docking in San Francisco, CBS affiliate KPIX reported.


A COVID-free “Cruise to Nowhere”

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Princess Cruise did not disclose how many passengers caught COVID-19 on the ship, which disembarked on Sunday. However, the presence of COVID-19 cases on the cruise indicates Americans are not quite out of the coronavirus forest just yet. A new The BA.2 subvariant of the virus has increased cases in Arkansas, Connecticut and New York. BA.2 is about 30% more transmissible than Omicron but does not appear to be more severe. Nationwide, daily US cases and hospitalizations continue to decline even as BA.2 cases spread.

Cruise operators have been beaten by COVID-19 Outbreaks in the early days of the pandemic involving ships with infected passengers excluded from docking in California and Florida. The Grand Princess, another Princess Cruises ship, has been quarantined at sea for six days after 21 people on board contracted the virus.

The number of people booking cruises has fallen sharply over the past two years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports warned against cruising regardless of a person’s vaccination status. In 2020 and 2021, cruise lines lost a total of $63 billion and shed thousands of jobs, according to industry data. The Cruise Lines International Association said the industry is expected to fully recover by next year.

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