Princess liner carrying virus victims docks in Florida

Another cruise ship with coronavirus patients on board has docked in Florida.

Princess Cruises said seven passengers and five crew members on the Coral Princess had tested positive for Covid-19.

The Coral Princess, carrying 1,020 passengers and 878 crew members, docked in Miami. It had been in limbo for days awaiting permission to dock.

Anyone in need of hospital treatment will disembark first, the cruise line said. Those who are fit to fly will begin leaving on Sunday, while others who have symptoms of respiratory illness will remain on board until cleared by ship doctors.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Passengers on board the Coral Princess (Lynne Sladky/AP)</figcaption>
Passengers on board the Coral Princess (Lynne Sladky/AP)

A day earlier, the cruise ships Zaandam and Rotterdam were permitted to dock at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, with 14 critically ill people taken immediately to hospitals. The remaining passengers were slowly being allowed to board flights for home.

The Coral Princess had been on a South American cruise that was due to end on March 19 in Buenos Aires. Since then, the ship has encountered obstacles to docking because of various port closures and cancellation of airline flights, the cruise line said.

Passengers have self-isolated in their staterooms and meals have been delivered by room service. Crew members have also remained in their quarters when they are not working.

The US Coast Guard said it has been involved with processing about 120 vessels carrying some 250,000 passengers over the past three weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It said as of Saturday there are 114 cruise ships, carrying 93,000 crew members, either in or near US ports and waters.

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