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Grand Princess crew ends quarantine; ship to sail out to sea

Bay Area
Grand Princess cruise ship

FILE – In this March 14, 2020, file photo, the Grand Princess cruise ship is docked at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, Calif. Two men who were on the coronavirus-stricken cruise ship died from the virus after being returned to California. Federal officials confirmed Thursday, March 26, 2020 that fewer than half the ship’s passengers were tested for the virus, despite assurances from Vice President Mike Pence and California’s governor that everyone aboard the ship would be tested. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Nearly 650 crew members of the Grand Princess completed their 14-day quarantine Saturday, ending a nearly month-long period of self-isolation that began when the cruise ship was struck with the coronavirus.

The cruise line said the crew members can finally leave their staterooms and roam around the ship as long as they wear personal protective equipment and stay at least six feet from each other. The ship will leave San Francisco Bay and sail out to sea for several days of routine marine operations.

Early next week, the ship will dock temporarily at the Port of San Francisco to stock up on provisions. The cruise line was still working out a plan on where it will go next.

The cruise ship industry is currently under a 30-day suspension of all trips from the U.S. that took effect on March 14. This week, the U.S. Coast Guard directed cruise ships to be sequestered “indefinitely” offshore during the pandemic.

The ship was forced to return to San Francisco in early March after more than a dozen people tested positive for the coronavirus. While passengers eventually disembarked at the Port of Oakland and taken to U.S. bases for quarantine, hundreds of crew members remained on board, under quarantine.

Two male passengers were the first on board the ship to die from COVID-19, federal officials announced last week, while at least 103 had tested positive.

A third person who died from COVID-19 was a crew member who died on April 1, said Negin Kamali, a spokeswsoman for Princess Cruises.

“Our hearts go out to his family, friends, team members and all who are impacted by this loss,” she said.

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