State Department Warns Americans to Skip Cruises

Warning comes as cruise ship will unload passengers in Oakland
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2020 9:50 AM CDT
Cruise Ship Docks Monday in Uneasy Oakland
A passenger waves from the Grand Princess off the coast of San Francisco as a media boat approaches on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

For more than 2,000 passengers aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, Monday will be a good day. For residents of Oakland worried about the coronavirus, maybe not as good. The ship has been in limbo off the California coast, but authorities have finally given it the green light to dock at the Port of Oakland. "It is the right thing to do," Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said Sunday, per the East Bay Times. "We have to not let our fear dictate or impede our humanity." Twenty-one people aboard the ship have tested positive for COVID-19, all but two of them crew members. However, federal and state health authorities say heavy precautions will prevent any of the passengers from entering the general population.

About 1,000 of the disembarking passengers are Californians who will be quarantined for 14 days at nearby military facilities. Others hail from more than 50 nations, and the US is working with their governments to send them home. The crew of more than 1,000 will remain aboard the ship, which will leave Oakland's port and dock more permanently at a site yet to be determined, reports the AP. As all this is unfolding, the State Department issued an official warning to Americans Sunday to avoid taking cruises. "US citizens, especially with underlying conditions, should not travel by cruise ship," said a department tweet. The development surprised the cruise industry, which was hoping the US government would not go that far, reports the Washington Post. (Read more cruise ships stories.)

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