After days of waiting off the California coast, the Grand Princess cruise ship, which is carrying at least 21 people — 2 passengers and 19 crew members — who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), arrived at the Port of Oakland on Monday.
Over 2,400 passengers are on board the ship and the disembarkation process will take two to three days, according to The New York Times.
Those passengers requiring “acute medical treatment and hospitalization” will be the first to disembark, California Gov. Gavin Newson announced at a press conference on Sunday.
All passengers from the United States will be transported from the port to complete mandatory 14-day quarantines. Most California residents will be taken to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, while the remaining passengers will be taken to a Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego, according to USA Today. American citizens from other states will be transported to Texas and Georgia.
Passengers from 54 countries are also onboard and will be sent back to their respective homes, TIME reported.
The Grand Princess cruise ship docks in Oakland
Passengers onboard the Grand Princess as they arrive in Oakland
Meanwhile the majority of the crew members will remain on the ship, which is set to leave San Francisco in several days.
“Once disembarkation of the guests is completed, the crew will remain onboard and Grand Princess will depart from San Francisco Bay. Plans for a crew quarantine are still being determined,” Princess Cruise Lines said in a statement on Sunday.
“All of us at Princess Cruises offer our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the federal, state and local authorities who are coordinating, collaborating and activating resources and personnel in support of this response to provide care and attend to the health and well-being of our guests and crew,” Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, added.
The cruise line also confirmed that one guest had already disembarked on Sunday for medical reasons that were unrelated to COVID-19.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Tents set up on the dock in the Port of Oakland
The Grand Princess has been waiting off the coast of Northern California since Wednesday night so that those on board could be tested for COVID-19 after an elderly man who had sailed on a previous voyage died of the virus in Placer County and numerous others onboard exhibited symptoms of the illness.
The man is believed to have contracted COVID-19 while traveling aboard the Grand Princess on a trip between San Francisco and Mexico between February 11-21, according to a news release.
Gov. Newson also confirmed during his Sunday news conference that an additional “12 individuals on that [previous] cruise” had been identified as testing positive for the virus and that about 1,540 additional Californians, who had been on board, were being monitored.
Justin Sullivan/Getty The Grand Princess cruise ship in Oakland
Princess Cruise Lines previously issued a health advisory letter to those aboard the Grand Princess, which had been returning to San Francisco from Hawaii.
The letter alerted those on board to the fact that the CDC was “investigating a small cluster” of COVID-19 cases in Northern California and asked guests who also sailed on the ship’s previous voyage to remain in their stateroom until they had been contacted and cleared by medical staff.
Another ship from the same company, was quarantined off the coast of Japan in early February after the illness was reported on board. Over 700 people eventually tested positive and eight died, according to The New York Times.
Princess has a list of upcoming voyages that have been cancelled on its website, which includes cruises in Asia, but also several departing from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Ft. Lauderdale.
The U.S. State Department and the CDC have also now issued an official warning against traveling on cruise ships, specifically among “travelers with underlying health conditions.” Despite the official warnings, many major cruise lines are continuing to operate.
As of Monday, 113,584 people have been infected across 111 countries, with 3,996 cases resulting in death. A total of 62,496 patients have recovered. In the United States, there have been 607 confirmed cases and 22 deaths.