FT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Update: The Centers for Disease Control said the two crew members aboard the Regal Princess cruise ship off Florida's coast tested negative for COVID-19.
The CDC rescinded the no sail order for the Regal Princess Sunday.
Right now, we do not know when the cruise ship will dock.
Previous: The Regal Princess cruise ship is not being allowed to dock in South Florida after passengers aboard were told two crew members are being tested for COVID-19 coronavirus.
It's believed those crew previously were on board the Grand Princess ship, which for days has been forbidden to dock in San Francisco after at least 20 positive coronavirus cases were reported. At least one person among those cases died.
Sarah Johnston said her mother and stepdad were awoken by the Regal Princess captain around 5:30 a.m. Sunday with the news: Two crew members were being tested for COVID-19 after they, at some point, served on the Grand Princess cruise before being transferred to the Regal Princess.
The captain said the crew was tested upon arrival to the Regal Princess but needed to be tested again, Johnston recalls her family's story. It's not known whether the affected crew members are being isolated.
The Miami Herald reports the crew members are not showing symptoms of coronavirus.
Regal Princess was set to dock at 8:30 a.m. at Port Everglades, but Johnston said the captain came on the intercom to say the ship will anchor out and wait for the test results.
The ship was to return to shore at noon.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it is working with the Florida Department of Health, Princess Cruise Lines, and other federal, state, and local partners to assess the risk to passengers and crew aboard the Regal Princess cruise ship. CDC spokesperson Belsie González said they have collected an initial sample for COVID-19 testing from two high-risk crew members who may have been exposed to COVID-19 on a previous voyage on another cruise ship.
González said the collective goal was to protect the health and safety of Regal Princess passengers and crew, their loved ones, the traveling public, and communities within the United States.
González said the CDC was working to get passengers off the cruise ship as safely as they could.
A Coast Guard boat transported test kits to the cruise ship earlier in the morning, the agency said, following a "no-sail" order issued by Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We will assist health officials to ensure the safety and health of all passengers and crew aboard, and will continue to collaborate with our interagency and industry partners as the whole of US Government responds and mitigates risk of coronavirus," the Coast Guard said in a statement.
Princess Cruises sent 10News this statement:
"Princess Cruises was required by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to share information about two crew members who previously served on Grand Princess and transferred to Regal Princess more than two weeks ago.
After sharing all information and details about the crew members, the CDC informed us of their decision to halt disembarkation as scheduled on March 8 until two crew members are tested for COVID-19. Neither of these crew members are exhibiting respiratory symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and are well beyond CDC's advised 14-day incubation period for the illness. Therefore, based on US CDC's published COVID-19 guidance, these crew members should not pose any risks to the health and welfare of anyone aboard Regal Princess.
Due to the unknown timing of obtaining the sampling kits, test results or anticipated response, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Regal’s voyage departing on March 8.
We share in our guests’ disappointment in the cancelled cruise and are sorry that we could not communicate sooner given the lack of information. In light of these extraordinary and unforeseen circumstances, Princess Cruises will be offering the following compensation:
For Guests on the Current Caribbean Voyage:
Unexpected expenses, such as air change fees, reimbursement of reasonable non-refundable out-of-pocket expenses will be considered on a case-by-case basis when submitted to our office.
For Guests Departing March 8:
Our guest services and ground operations teams are activated and are working to assist guests who purchased hotel independently by providing lists of local hotels with availability. Princess Cruises will reimburse our guests up to $300 per booking for one-night’s hotel costs in Fort Lauderdale. Princess has booked our EZair guests in a FLL airport hotel.
All guests will receive a full refund of their cruise fare, Princess Air, Princess Cruise Plus pre- and post-cruise hotel packages, prepaid shore excursions and other prepaid items purchased through Princess Cruises.
Unexpected expenses, such as air change fees, reimbursement of reasonable non-refundable out-of-pocket expenses will be considered on a case-by-case basis when submitted to our office. As the cruise has been cancelled the day of departure, each guest will also receive a 100% Future Cruise Credit equal to the cruise fare paid on this voyage."
MarineTraffic.com shows the ship approached the Miami Beach area, sailing back and forth for some time before traveling toward the northeast.
Johnston's mother and stepdad, Cheryl and Gerry, in the meantime say people are anxious and calm, with a "fantastic" crew on board. Passengers have been allowed to move about the ship.
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