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A gastrointestinal outbreak has sent a Florida-based Caribbean Princess cruise ship filled with 370 sick people right back to the port from whence it came – though officials insist this illness incident has nothing to do with novel coronavirus.
The Princess vessel – not to be confused with the other Diamond Princess cruise ship that just a few days prior was reported to have 61 confirmed coronavirus cases – is said to have had 3,035 passengers onboard, meaning roughly 11 percent fell ill from this mystery disease.
Of the 370 passengers who fell ill, 26 were crew members tasked with keeping the ship on track.
“This is a highly unusual development and we share the disappointment of our guests,” reads an official statement issued by Princess Cruises following the incident.
“However, the health and safety of our guests and crew is our top priority, and in working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was decided out of an abundance of caution, in this specific instance, to discontinue the cruise.”
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After returning to port and dropping everyone off, the Princess vessel continued on to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, with an expected arrival of Thursday, February 13. It will then set off on February 16 to receive “a super sanitation cleaning,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), followed by an official investigation to identify the cause of the outbreak.
Meanwhile, all passengers aboard the aborted cruise were offered 50 percent refunds, along with a 50 percent credit to put towards a future Princess cruise.
While it remains unknown exactly what caused this mystery outbreak, some reports point to the possibility of norovirus, which has spread aboard cruise ships in the past. One such incident took place aboard a Saga’s Spirit of Discovery cruise ship just this past week, in fact, leaving dozens of passengers too ill to continue traveling.
Another such incident took place aboard a Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas cruise ship last month, afflicting 561 passengers and 31 crew members, all of whom had to be treated for the illness.
A norovirus outbreak also reportedly occurred at a Louisiana casino earlier this week, leaving 200 people sick and indisposed.
As for the aforementioned Diamond Princess cruise ship that was ported in Japan, new reports indicate that this vessel is currently floating under quarantine off the Japanese coast.
“We need to properly address the unease and concerns of our citizens,” stated Japanese health minister Katsunobu Kat? about the reasoning behind this floating quarantine.
Those passengers aboard this quarantined ship will reportedly be offered full refunds, including all travel, ground transportation, airfare, and other associated costs.
“And this is why cruises are so much fun,” joked one commenter at The Epoch Times.
“Trapped on board with a virus because (likely) one or more employees didn’t properly clean their hands before handling the food. That or the food was bad to begin with. That’s why my husband and I don’t go out to eat hardly at all. I feel for those poor people on board.”
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