More than 400 people have been evacuated from the quarantined Grand Princess cruise ship in the first seven hours since it docked at the Port of Oakland, the California Office of Emergency Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday.
Health officials disembarked 407 passengers from the ship between its arrival at the port around noon Monday and 8:30 p.m. that night. The ship had been quarantined off the coast of San Francisco for several days since it was discovered that passengers may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus on a previous trip from San Francisco to Mexico from Feb. 11 to 21.
The first evacuations from the ship were focused on passengers with the most immediate medical needs, which are not necessarily related to the virus. Of those evacuated from the ship, 173 were U.S. residents and 234 were Canadians. Health officials transported 149 U.S. residents from the ship to the quarantine zone at Travis Air Force Base via bus while the other 24 were transported via ambulance. Of the Canadians, 232 were sent to be repatriated to Canada, including two via ambulance.
Officials expected the pace of evacuations to pick up Tuesday with the ship’s most vulnerable passengers transported away. Evacuations resumed at 8 a.m.
To date, health officials have screened at least 46 people aboard the ship for the virus and 21 have tested positive, 19 of whom are crewmembers. Once passengers are removed from the ship, it is expected to leave the Bay Area to continue the crew’s quarantine.