Cruise ship carrying 237 Canadians has reported 21 cases of COVID-19 so far

A cruise ship carrying 237 Canadians that is being held in the waters off San Francisco has 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Princess Cruises issued a statement late Friday saying the first phase of health screenings aboard the Grand Princess included 45 passengers and crew.

So far, two passengers and 19 crew members have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The company did not disclose the nationalities of those infected.

There are 3,533 people aboard the ship, including 2,422 passengers and 1,111 crew from 54 countries.

The ship’s doctor is in the process of informing the guests and crew of their individual results,” the statement said. ”All guests and affected crew will remain isolated in their rooms.”

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence later issued a statement from the White House saying American officials are planning to bring the ship to a “non-commercial port,” where all the passengers and crew will be tested.

Princess Cruises says it has yet to learn where the ships will be allowed to go, though it stressed that passengers will continue to be provided complimentary internet and telephone services.

As well, the company is collecting information from passengers regarding prescription refills

Three of Canada’s 54 confirmed or presumptive cases of COVID-19 were among passengers who were aboard the same ship from Feb. 11 to 21 during a cruise that began and ended in San Francisco.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has since been trying to find more than 260 Canadians who were on that cruise.

Meanwhile, Canadian health officials continue to stress that the risk posed by the novel coronavirus in this country remains low.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says most of the cases have been mild, and the patients are self isolating at home.

About seven people are in hospital, but she said that doesn’t necessarily mean they are severely ill.

Around the country, officials are prioritizing efforts to sanitize places where people gather in close quarters, such as planes, trains, subways and stadiums.

The number of infected people worldwide exceeded 100,000 on Friday. The World Health Organization says most of the new cases had shifted from China to other countries.

The virus was first confirmed in China’s Hubei on Jan. 7. About 90 countries have since reported infections.

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