Some passengers who have been held aboard a ship off the coast of San Francisco for two weeks will be quarantined at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar until full coronavirus testing can be completed, federal health officials announced Sunday.
At least 21 of the roughly 3,000 people on board the Grand Princess cruise have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus strain.
On Sunday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said the ship will dock in Oakland on Monday, when 962 passengers who are California residents will complete the mandatory quarantine at Travis Air Force Base, about 50 miles northeast of Oakland, and Miramar in San Diego.
Both Miramar and Travis were quarantine locations for Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, where the disease was first reported.
Other United States passengers will be taken to Joint Base San Antonio Lackland in Texas or Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, at an afternoon news conference, said cruise passengers will likely disembark at the Port of Oakland on Monday.
“The Grand Princess is currently 10 to 12 miles off shore and about 2 1/2 hours away from the Oakland port,” Newsom said. “We are working out the enormity and complexity of this operation.”
The governor said foreign passengers will leave the ship and board charter buses to be taken to Oakland Airport. There they will board charter planes to be repatriated to their country of origin. U.S. passengers will board charter buses and be taken to Travis Air Force Base. California residents will be split up between Travis and the Miramar base to undergo testing and a 14-day quarantine.
“The entire operation — we hope — will be a two- or three-day process,” Newsom said. “We ask patience.”
No one on board will be released immediately to the general public.
Passengers who require medical treatment and hospitalization will be taken to health-care facilities in California.
The crew will be quarantined and treated aboard the ship.
“The Port of Oakland was chosen because it is one of a limited number of docks that can accommodate a ship the size of the Grand Princess, and because it was the easiest to seal off, securely move passengers toward their isolation destinations and protect the safety of the public,” the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services said in a statement.
Story updated at 4:20 p.m. Sunday, March 8, 2020.
— City News Service
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