Sunday, 8 March 2020

Pence Confirms 21 Cases Of Coronavirus Aboard Grand Princess Cruise Ship Off Coast Of San Francisco

Vice President Mike Pence has confirmed that 21 people aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, circling off of San Francisco, have tested positive for coronavirus.
Pence said at a Friday press briefing at the White House that the coronavirus task force had confirmed the infections, which hit 19 crew members and two passengers.
The vice president said the cruise ship, which took passengers from California to Hawaii on a 15-day cruise, would dock at a “non-commercial port” over the weekend and the more than 2,000 passengers could disembark. But first, all will be tested for the virus.
“We have developed a plan which will be implemented this weekend to bring the ship into a non-commercial port,” Pence said. “All passengers and crew will be tested for the coronavirus. Those that need to be quarantined will be quarantined. Those that require additional medical attention will receive it.”
“We are taking all measures necessary to see to the health of the Americans and those involved on the Grand Princess. And just as importantly to protect the health of the American public and prevent the spread of the disease,” he added.
The vice president said it’s likely the 1,100-member crew on the cruise ship were exposed to coronavirus on “two different outings,” adding that they will remain in quarantine aboard the ship. As for the passengers, some will be quarantined on nearby U.S. military bases, including two bases that already hold those in quarantine, according to Health and Human Services official Robert Kadlec.
Pence, who was put in charge of the administration’s response to the virus by President Donald Trump, also said he is working with California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to figure out where to dock the ship.
“We are taking all measures necessary to see to the health of … those involved on the Grand Princess and, just as importantly, to protect the health of the American public and prevent the spread of the disease through communities in this country,” Pence said.
The Grand Princess has has been circling 100 miles off the shore of San Francisco for more than two days, but moved closer to the coastline late Friday, and there were reports that passengers might be airlifted off the ship.
“Late Friday, the ship made a turn toward San Francisco and was only a few miles off the Golden Gate Bridge,” KPIX-TV reported. “Chris Grady, a passenger onboard from Milpitas told KPIX 5 in a late night Skype interview there [sic] a reason for the sudden movement. It was just a brief announcement (over the ship’s PA system) mostly for the crew to go up to get ready for the helicopter to come to prepare for an airlift,” he said. “It wasn’t really directed toward us (the passengers).”
The U.S. death toll, meanwhile, jumped to 14, and the number of cases in the U.S. rose from 260 on Friday to 340 on Saturday, according to a tracking tool created by the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering. The infected are spread over more than 20 states, and reports say the virus has now hit Washington, D.C.

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