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article imageOver 200 Canadians quarantined on Grand Princess cruise ship

By Karen Graham     Mar 6, 2020 in Health
A cruise ship that has been quarantined off the coast of California by public health officials over fears of a possible COVID-19 outbreak includes 235 Canadian passengers, Global Affairs Canada has confirmed.
The California Air National Guard dropped off coronavirus test kits to the Grand Princess cruise ship off the California Coast on Thursday, and as of today, and medical officials have collected samples for testing from 45 people. The samples have been sent to a lab near San Francisco.
The more than 3,500 people aboard the Grand Princess -- 2,422 guests and 1,111 crew members, must remain at sea as it awaits test results, expected Friday, said Mary Ellen Carroll of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, reports CNN News.
Passengers were told on Thursday they will be confined to their rooms with meals being brought to them by food service. Princess Cruise Lines notified the passengers that federal health officials are investigating a "small cluster" of coronavirus cases connected to the ship's mid-February voyage.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair told CBC News Network's Power & Politics the federal government is doing "what is necessary to protect the best interests of those Canadians."
"We are working very closely with the American authorities," Blair told host Vassy Kapelos in an interview airing Thursday. "I think we've learned a great deal from the experience, both from the ship that docked in Yokohama and the one in Cambodia."
While Blair said the Canadian government is doing everything it can to keep Canadians safe, he stopped short of promising to evacuate any infected citizens on the ship back to Canada.
"Well, it really depends on the results of that testing," Blair said. "I am not going to get ahead of that but I am very satisfied with the excellent work that the U.S. authorities are undertaking in Oakland to make sure that those people are in fact tested."
Close to 100,000 people have been infected by COVID-19 worldwide since it emerged in China last December. Nearly 3,330 people have succumbed to the illness, according to Global News.
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