BAYONNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – More than a dozen passengers were screened for coronavirus after their cruise ship arrived Friday morning in Bayonne, New Jersey.
Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas remained held at port, delayed from its scheduled departure until Saturday, reports CBS2’s Nick Caloway.
Of those 27, 23 were cleared and four were taken to the hospital for additional testing. Some were seen leaving the ship on stretchers.
“The hospital is following proper infection control protocols while evaluating these individuals,” Murphy said in a statement. “New Jersey currently has no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus and the risk to residents remains low.”
Royal Caribbean said none of the passengers were displaying symptoms of the virus, but one has tested positive for influenza.
Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis said CDC officials considered it a “below low risk” situation. All other passengers were allowed to disembark.
RC Update: Approx 2 dozen were screened this morning with 4 sent to area hosp for further screening. I was advised CDC considers this “Below Low Risk” situation. All other passengers released w/no action needed.
— Mayor Jimmy Davis (@DavisForBayonne) February 7, 2020
Law enforcement sources told CBS2 none of the passengers showed any symptoms, but were screened out of an abundance of caution.
They were asked to stay in their rooms until they reached land. Some other passengers said they were unaware of the quarantine.
“No, nothing at all,” said passenger Stuart Shepherd to CBS2. “We didn’t realize until you said. We had no idea at all.”
“We should have been more informed about it,” said Susan Manchester, of Toronto. “To my knowledge, I didn’t hear any announcements, anything. It’s just all been hearsay.”
Alan Rosenberg, of New Hope, Pennsylvania, told CBS2’s Jessica Layton the family trip of a lifetime takes a long time to plan.
“The cruise that we’ve been waiting for for a year now,” he said.
But the Rosenbergs and thousands of others have to wait a little longer to set sail.
“I’d rather them postpone and be safe than, you know, anything happen,” passenger Crisy Heyer.
Anthem of the Seas departed from the Caribbean and docked around 6 a.m. Friday.
Royal Caribbean delayed the next departure out of Bayonne more than a full day, leaving the next crop of cruisers scrambling.
“We were already on a shuttle and were in line to be dropped off at the port when we got the information that said that we were departing tomorrow instead of today,” passenger Andra Stoller said.
“We are disappointed because we’re not on board the ship. It’s expensive to stay here,” passenger Toni Devore said.
But at least they didn’t have to wait for entertainment. A group of bagpipers treated passengers to a flash mob in the lobby of their hotel. They too are stuck another night as the cruise crew sanitizes the boat from top to bottom.
“There must be a reason that they took those precautions, so whatever they’ve got to do, we have to make the best of it,” passenger Andrew Douglas said.
In response to the global coronavirus emergency, cruise lines are now denying access to some passengers. Royal Caribbean has banned any passengers holding a passport from China, Hong Kong and Macau. Other cruise lines have banned passengers or crew members of any nationality if they have traveled to or through China in the last two weeks.
“Like airlines, we are participating in elevated levels of guest screening to check the spread of coronavirus. We are closely monitoring developments regarding coronavirus and have rigorous medical protocols in place onboard our ships,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement. “We continue to work in close consultation with the CDC, the WHO, and local health authorities to align with their guidance and ensure the health and wellbeing of our guests and crew.”
Meanwhile in New York City, two people are awaiting their test results. So far, three others have come back negative.
In China, one of the first doctors to sound the alarm about the virus has died of the illness. Dr. Li Wenliang, 34, was allegedly threatened by the government after voicing his concerns.
A total of 61 cases have been confirmed on two luxury cruise ships docked off the coast of Japan.
At least 11 of the patients are Americans. They were seen being escorted off the Diamond Princess Cruise Liner under heavy quarantine.
Approximately 3,700 passengers are on lockdown.
“Apparently, we are going to be allowed to go stretch our legs tomorrow. We are being supervised when we do that, and we can only go to a certain area of the ship, and we must mask up,” one woman said. “You open the door, and it’s like E.T. at the end of the movie.”
The death toll in China has now topped 600, with more than 30,000 people infected across 25 countries.