(The 'Grand Princess' pictured in Monaco on June 05, 1998.)[Gamma-Rapho/Getty/Kyodo]
WASHINGTON - A cruise ship carrying over 3,000 crew and passengers including some infected with the new coronavirus docked in a port on the San Francisco Bay on Monday to start the disembarkation of passengers for testing and quarantine.
Twenty-one people aboard the Grand Princess have so far tested positive for the virus. The figure does not include any of the four Japanese people who are on board, according to the Japanese government.
The disembarkation at the Port of Oakland will be conducted in phases, starting with those who require immediate emergency medical care, followed by California residents and then non-California residents, according to the California Governor's Office.
Although it was scheduled to return to San Francisco on Saturday, the Grand Princess had been moored off the coast of California since Wednesday night as it was found that a passenger from an earlier voyage on the ship had been infected with the coronavirus. The passenger died from the illness in California.
There are around 2,400 passengers and 1,100 crew members on the ship, which is owned by the same company that operates the virus-hit Diamond Princess that was quarantined near Tokyo in February.
California residents will be transferred to military installations in their state for testing and quarantine, while non-California residents will be transported to facilities in other states, according to the office.
The crew will be quarantined aboard the ship. The Grand Princess will only stay in the Port of Oakland while unloading the passengers.
In the United States as of Sunday evening, 34 states plus New York City and the U.S. capital reported more than 500 cases of COVID-19, the official name of the disease caused by the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The institution, meanwhile, issued guidance on Monday that colleges and universities should consider asking students studying abroad to return to the United States as well as postponing or canceling upcoming student international travel programs.
"Those overseeing student international travel programs should be aware that students may face unpredictable circumstances, travel restrictions, challenges in returning home or accessing health care while abroad," the CDC said in the guidance, adding, "All plans for returning study abroad students should be designed to protect participants from stigma and discrimination."