The Grand Princess cruise ship passes by Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay on Monday, March 9, 2020 as it heads to dock at the Port of Oakland with 21 people on board who tested positive for coronavirus. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Grand Princess to set sail after crew quarantine ends

A quarantine aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship anchored in San Francisco Bay ended Saturday and its 646 crewmembers are now able to move about the vessel practicing social distancing, the cruise company said.

The ship will sail out to sea for routine marine operations, and return early next week to dock temporarily at the Port of San Francisco to take on necessary provisions. Plans for where the ship will go next haven’t been finalized, cruise officials said Saturday.

The ship has been anchored in San Francisco Bay for nearly three weeks after 21 people aboard tested positive for the novel coronavirus, including two passengers and 19 crewmembers.

Passengers from the ship were taken to hospitals and various quarantine zones and two have since died. One Filipino crewmember from the ship recently passed away at a San Francisco hospital, prompting unions and community groups representing Filipino and South Asian crewmembers aboard the ship to demand the cruise company do more to protect its workers.

Princess Cruises said Saturday that the crew will remain on Grand Princess now that the quarantine is up. They will be able to spend time out of their staterooms and in other areas practicing social distancing of six feet apart, and wear personal protective equipment while working and socializing, according to a statement from cruse officials.

A ship cleaning and sanitation program approved by the Centers for Disease Control was already underway and will continue, cruise officials said.

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