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21 people test positive for coronavirus on cruise ship off California coast

Friday's test results came amid evidence the vessel was the breeding ground for a deadly cluster of more than 10 cases during its previous voyage to Mexico.
Credit: AP
CORRECTS COAST GUARD TO NATIONAL GUARD-In this photo provided by Michele Smith, a cruise ship worker cleans a railing on the Grand Princess Thursday, March 5, 2020, off the California coast. Scrambling to keep the coronavirus at bay, officials ordered a cruise ship with about 3,500 people aboard to stay back from the California coast Thursday until passengers and crew can be tested, after a traveler from its previous voyage died of the disease and at least two others became infected. A National Guard helicopter lowered test kits onto the 951-foot (290-meter) Grand Princess by rope as the vessel lay at anchor off Northern California, and authorities said the results would be available on Friday. Princess Cruise Lines said fewer than 100 people aboard had been identified for testing. (Michele Smith via AP)

SAN FRANCISCO — SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence says 21 people aboard a mammoth cruise ship off the California coast have tested positive for the new coronavirus and 19 of them are crew members. 

Pence said Friday that the federal government is working with California officials on a plan to bring the ship to a non-commercial port this weekend. 

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He said everyone aboard will be tested. Pence indicated some of the 3,500 passengers and crew members will stay on the ship under quarantine. 

Friday's test results come amid evidence the vessel was the breeding ground for a deadly cluster of more than 10 cases during its previous voyage to Mexico.

California Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) issued the following statement regarding the Grand Princess cruise ship passengers: 

“We have to be better than just leaving all these people out at sea. There are Americans on board, families, seniors, and others all wanting nothing more than to be safe and to get treatment if they need it. With the proper precautions in place and following the protocols called for by science, we can protect the public health while preserving our basic humanity. Any attempt to use these passengers as pawns or scapegoats for political cover has to be rejected by anyone with a working moral compass. I am urging our medical leaders and our faith leaders to raise their voices in support of a safe, sane and science based path forward for the ship and its passengers.” 

On Friday night, Florida Health Department said in a statement that two people who tested positive for COVID-19 have died in the state. 

The new coronavirus has hit a milestone, infecting more than 100,000 people worldwide and sending financial markets into another dive. The COVID-19 disease caused by the virus has killed more than 3,400 people and infected people are being identified in more U.S. states. 

There are now confirmed cases of the virus in more than 90 countries. President Donald Trump signed an $8.3 billion bill to fight the coronavirus, while 21 people on a cruise ship off California's coast tested positive for coronavirus.

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The U.N. health agency urged global cooperation from the business world and solidarity with the poorest.