Passengers on the Grand Princess to begin disembarking ship in Oakland

Posted at 6:53 AM, Mar 09, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO — Federal and state officials in California were preparing Monday to receive thousands of people from a cruise ship that was idling off the coast of San Francisco with at least 21 people aboard infected with the coronavirus.

The ship docked around midday Monday as officials prepared to begin to slowly disembark passengers and crew. The process could take several days.

Fences were being installed at an 11-acre site at the Port of Oakland, as authorities readied flights and buses to whisk the more than 2,000 passengers aboard the Grand Princess to military bases or their home countries for a 14-day quarantine.

There are more than 3,500 passengers on the ship, who hail from 54 countries.

Questions have surrounded the cruise ship since reports surfaced last week that one person had died of COVID-19 aboard the ship. After the cases of the virus were concerned, the ship has attempted to quarantine passengers in their rooms and asked the passengers to practice "social distancing" by standing about six feet away from each other.

Princess Cruises also operated the Diamond Princess, a ship that was moored for weeks in February off the coast of Japan after passengers tested positive for the coronavirus. Ultimately, about 700 passengers tested positive for the virus and seven people died.

The quarantine practices used on the Diamond Princess have been questioned since passengers disembarked.

The U.S. death toll from the virus reached at least 21 and the number of cases worldwide soared above 110,000.