WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence says 21 people on a cruise ship being held off San Francisco have tested positive for the coronavirus.
He also urged older Americans to “use caution” in planning any cruise ship vacation.
Speaking at the White House on Friday, Pence said the government is planning to bring the Grand Princess cruise ship into a “non-commercial port” where all the passengers and crew will be tested.
Those who need to be quarantined will be quarantined and those who need treatment will get treatment.
There are more than 3,500 people on the ship, counting passengers and crew.
Pence said 19 of those who tested positive were crew members and two were passengers.
“We would ask elderly Americans to use caution in planning a cruise vacation,” Pence said.
Health officials trying to establish whether the virus is circulating on the Grand Princess undertook the testing after reporting that a passenger on a previous voyage of the ship, in February, died of the disease.
In the past few days, health authorities disclosed that at least nine other people who were on the same journey also were found to be infected. And some passengers on that trip stayed aboard for the current voyage.
“We know the coronavirus manifested among the previous passengers … we will be testing everyone on the ship, we will be quarantining as necessary,” Pence said. “We anticipate that they will be quarantined on the ship, they will not need to disembark.”
Another Princess cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, was quarantined for two weeks in Yokohama, Japan, last month because of the virus, and ultimately about 700 of the 3,700 people aboard became infected in what experts pronounced a public-health failure, with the vessel essentially becoming a floating germ factory.