Coronavirus: Cruise ship held off coast of California for virus testing

An ocean liner that previously carried two passengers who contracted the coronavirus was barred on Wednesday from returning to its home port of San Francisco from a voyage to Hawaii after at least 20 people aboard fell ill.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said the cruise ship Grand Princess would remain at sea until passengers and crew complaining of symptoms that may be consistent with the coronavirus can be tested to determine whether they have it.

Coronavirus testing kits will be flown out to the ship and flown back with samples to be analyzed at a state laboratory in the San Francisco Bay area, a process he said should produce results in a matter of hours.

“So we’re holding that ship, which is thousands of passengers, off the coast, and will be conducting those tests and getting those tests back,” Newsom said.

Eleven passengers and 10 crew members have reported symptoms that could turn out to be the coronavirus, seasonal flu or the common cold, Newsom said.

Two passengers who traveled on the same ship on a previous voyage last month between San Francisco and Mexico later fell ill and tested positive for the coronavirus. Health officials say they probably contracted the illness aboard the vessel.

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