By Alison Fox
Updated March 06, 2020

Thousands of passengers are stuck on board the Grand Princess cruise ship as dozens who tested for coronavirus wait for results.

The current cruise — which is now in a holding pattern off the coast of San Francisco — was forced to turn around after former passenger died following a previous trip he took on the same ship from San Francisco to Mexico last month. He became the first coronavirus-related death in California and it is believed he came in contact with the virus during that cruise.

His death prompted California Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency.

A total of 45 passengers and crew who are currently on the Grand Princess had been identified for testing, according to Princess Cruise Lines. The current itinerary, a trip from San Francisco to Hawaii, does include some passengers who had also sailed on that previous voyage.

In an effort to contain the potential virus, tests were lowered onto the ship by a rope from a military helicopter and were later retrieved for analysis, The Associated Press reported.

As of Friday afternoon, at least five people who were on the San Francisco to Mexico trip — that took place from Feb. 11 to Feb. 21 — have been confirmed to have coronavirus, according to CBS San Diego.

“The ship will not come on shore until we appropriately assess the passengers,” that have continued on in the trips next voyage Newsom told The AP.

In addition, all guests on the ship had been asked to stay in their state rooms while the test results were pending, according to the cruise line. Meals were delivered to passengers in their rooms and they were given free internet with increased bandwidth.

There are currently 3,533 people onboard from 54 countries, according to the cruise line, including 2,422 guests and 1,111 crew members. According to the cruise line, its upcoming Hawaii cruise, which was supposed to leave on March 7, has been canceled.

The testing comes after another Princess ship, the Diamond Princess, spent weeks quarantined in Japan. More than 700 people became sick with coronavirus on that ship, which first set sail on Jan. 20.

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