The ship’s passengers and crew will be placed in a two-week quarantine.
California authorities are preparing to accept thousands of people from the Grand Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined off the coast of San Francisco, on Monday. At least 21 patients with a coronavirus infection are on board.
All 2,400 passengers on the liner have been in isolation in their cabins since Thursday.
Meanwhile, in the port of Auckland, the area is being fenced off for the distribution of people who got off the liner, and the authorities are preparing flights and buses to send passengers to military bases or to their home countries, where they will face a 14-day quarantine. There are more than 3,500 passengers and crew members from 54 countries on board.
“We are making every effort to get them off the ship as quickly and safely as possible,” said Dr. John Reid, a spokesman for the Department of health and social services.
While the number of victims of the virus in the United States has reached 21, and the number of cases worldwide has exceeded 110,000, California Governor Gavin Newsom and the mayor of Auckland have tried to assure the public that none of the passengers of the Grand Princess will contact the US population until the quarantine period ends. More than 500 cases of infection have been recorded in the country.
According to Newsom, the port of Auckland was chosen because of its proximity to the airport and military base. American passengers will be transported to military bases in California, Texas, and Georgia, where they will be tested for the virus and placed in quarantine.
About 1,100 members of the ship’s crew, 19 of whom were diagnosed with the new virus, will be quarantined and receive medical care directly on the ship, which will dock elsewhere, Newsom said.
“The ship will turn around, and now they are looking for a suitable place to place it, but it will not be the San Francisco Bay,” he said.
The state Department is working with authorities in countries where hundreds of Grand Princess passengers arrived to arrange their return home. There are 240 Canadian citizens among the passengers.