WASHINGTON, April 2 (Xinhua) -- A dozen of individuals on board U.S. cruise ship Coral Princess have tested positive for COVID-19, the company said Thursday, making the vessel yet another one of its kind to be hit by the disease.
"In response to a reported small cluster of cases of respiratory illness and in an abundance of caution, Coral Princess proactively collected and sent 13 COVID-19 test samples to Barbados on March 31. We can confirm the results yielded 12 positive cases (7 guests and 5 crew)," Princess Cruises said in a statement.
The ship is en route to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with an estimated arrival date of April 4, read the statement, adding the company "continues to remain in contact with local officials regarding disembarkation details."
There are 1,898 people on board including 1,020 passengers and 878 crew members, according to the company. While passengers are asked to self-isolate in their staterooms, the crew will remain in their staterooms when not working, and face masks are being distributed on the ship, the statement said.
Princess Cruises has been a hot spot of the coronavirus' transmission on cruise ships. Its Diamond Princess was hit by the contagion in Japan in February, and Grand Princess was plagued by the virus in California in March.
The coronavirus outbreak on board Coral Princess came days after the Zaandam and Rotterdam, two cruise ships owned by Holland America, were struck by COVID-19 and still awaiting disembarkation arrangement.
There are more than 300 U.S. nationals on board the two ships. Two of the four deaths are believed to be caused by COVID-19, nine people have tested positive for the virus, and at least 190 more have reported symptoms, according to Holland America.
The U.S. Coast Guard issued an order Wednesday, directing all ships operating in U.S. waters with more than 50 persons on board to stay offshore indefinitely and increase their on-board medical capabilities, personnel and equipment in order to care for people who contracted COVID-19 or other influenza-like illness.