Royal Caribbean delaying cruise departure until Monday as it awaits CDC coronavirus tests in NJ

1010 WINS Newsroom
February 08, 2020 - 1:01 pm
Anthem of the Seas

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

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BAYONNE, N.J. (1010 WINS) – Royal Caribbean Cruises said Saturday that it is delaying sailing until Monday as it awaits conclusive coronavirus results from passengers on its Anthem of the Seas ship, which was still docked in Bayonne.

In a statement, the cruise line said it received an update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday afternoon.

"Unfortunately, due to the volume of tests they are conducting for coronavirus, they will need the next 24-48 hours to complete the test. Given this new news, we are going to push the departure date to Monday in order to have conclusive results before sailing," the cruise line said in a statement. It said prospective passengers will receive a full refund if they decide not to show up for the cruise given the inconvenience.

CREW MEMBER FOUND DEAD

Meanwhile, law enforcement sources told WNBC on Saturday that a 54-year-old crew member, a Filipino national, was found dead in an engine room of the ship last weekend.

Authorities don't believe the man's death is connected to the coronavirus scare as he didn't show symptoms of the illness, but they're awaiting an autopsy and treating his death with an "abundance of caution."

According to WNBC, the man's body was kept in a refrigerated compartment on the ship before it was sent to Newark for a "rush" autopsy.

"We can confirm that local authorities were immediately notified after a crewmember who did not report for work was found deceased. We cooperated fully with law enforcement in their investigation and have been advised the death was non-suspicious," Royal Caribbean wrote in a statement to WNBC.

SHIP REMAINS DOCKED AMID CDC TESTS

Earlier on Saturday, Royal Caribbean said it was still awaiting conclusive results from the CDC office in Atlanta.

“If we have to delay further, and you no longer want to sail with us on Sunday, we completely understand, and you may cancel and receive a full refund,” the statement said.

Dozens of passengers were screened Friday after the Anthem of the Seas docked in Bayonne early Friday morning. Some 4,000 passengers had been on board. Of the dozens screened, four were sent to a hospital to be tested.

Royal Caribbean said none of the four guests tested by the CDC showed any clinical signs or symptoms of the coronavirus and that one of them tested positive for the flu.

Although the cruise line previously said it had been cleared to depart Saturday night, it said it wanted conclusive tests from the CDC before departing.

“We have also been cleared by authorities to depart, as usual. However, to reassure concerned guests, we will delay our departure until (Saturday), when we will receive the conclusive test results from the CDC,” the cruise line previously said.

The cruise ship had left Cape Liberty on Jan. 27 for an 11-day cruise to the Caribbean. People were reporting symptoms while the ship was on its way to New Jersey from the Bahamas.

More than dozen Chinese nationals were quarantined and screened Friday after reporting symptoms while on the ship, Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement Friday morning.

The sick people were placed in isolation before four were taken to a hospital by ambulance Friday morning for additional screening by the CDC.

On Friday afternoon, Royal Caribbean said in a statement it was banning all guests holding Chinese, Hong Kong or Macau passports from boardings any of the ships in its fleet until further notice.

The cruise company said anyone who has traveled from, to or through mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau less than 15 days prior to sailing will not be allowed on any of its ships, as well. It said it's also banning any guest or crewmember who has been in contact with someone who has traveled from, to or through mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau less than 15 days before sailing.

CORONAVIRUS FEARS ACROSS US, WORLD

Meanwhile, four people tested in New York City for the coronavirus have been cleared. Results are still pending for a fifth case.

A total of 22 New York residents have been tested—16 were negative for the coronavirus, while the other six are still awaiting test results.

Twelve people in the U.S. are confirmed to have the coronavirus, while dozens more are being monitored.

The number of infected people in China is approaching 40,000, while more than 800 have died there. A U.S. citizen in China recently became the first American to die from the virus.

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