More than 3,800 passengers on a cruise ship disembarked in Miami without screening for COVID-19, despite a previous traveler testing positive days earlier

Carrying multiple people who have tested positive for COVID-19, the Grand Princess maintains a holding pattern about 30 miles off the coast of San Francisco, Sunday, March 8, 2020. The cruise ship is scheduled to dock at the Port of Oakland on Monday. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Associated Press

Cruise ships have become a hotspot for coronavirus infections and worries.

  • More than 3,800 passengers disembarked from a cruise ship in Miami on Sunday without any type of screening for illness or potential coronavirus infections, the Miami Herald reported Sunday.
  • "When I say there was no check, there was none whatsoever," one passenger told the Herald. "I expected us to have some kind of a screening. They didn't do a single thing. We walked straight off the ship. There wasn't any check on anyone for anything."
  • A previous passenger on that same ship, the MSC Meraviglia, disembarked on March 8 and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.
  • MSC told the Herald it "followed all protocols as required" and had been cleared to dock and disembark as normal by US health authorities.
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More than 3,800 passengers disembarked Sunday a cruise ship from Miami without undergoing any medical screening or tests, despite the ship recently having a COVID-19 patient aboard about a week beforehand.

The Miami Herald reported that the previous passenger had departed the ship after an eight-day cruise aboard the MSC Meraviglia. Slightly more than 100 passengers along with crew members remained aboard on the next voyage, the Herald reported.

A few days after disembarking, that passenger tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The cruise ship subsequently isolated crew members that were in close contact with that passenger, according to the Herald.

Unlike other cruises with coronavirus concerns, the MSC Meraviglia wasn't held offshore to test passengers and crew. Instead, the cruise docked and disembarked normally on Sunday, with clearance from US health authorities, according to the Herald.

"If we have [the virus], it's going to spread throughout the country," one passenger who requested anonymity told the local newspaper. "When I say there was no check, there was none whatsoever. I expected us to have some kind of a screening. They didn't do a single thing. We walked straight off the ship. There wasn't any check on anyone for anything."

A spokesperson for MSC Cruises told the Herald no one onboard has symptoms of the virus, and the ship "followed all protocols as required" in docking and disembarking.

Several cruise lines have temporarily suspended operations because of the global outbreak of the coronavirus. Two previous ships, the Diamond Princess and the Grand Princess have drawn criticism for how they handled passengers amid coronavirus worries.

The Diamond Princess registered nearly 700 coronavirus cases. The Grand Princess docked in Oakland last week, with crew members staying aboard in isolation while many passengers will spend 14 days in at US military bases for a quarantine period.

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