00:08 GMT04 April 2020
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    Among the 21 individuals infected on the giant cruise ship off the California coast at least 19 are crew members, Vice President Mike Pence announced Friday, adding that the vessel would be taken to a non-commercial port for further testing.

    "In response to our request, the US Department of State has officially confirmed that four of our compatriots are on board the Grand Princess cruise vessel (currently quarantined off the California coast). We are maintaining permanent contact with representatives of the relevant bodies. We are closely following the developments", the embassy wrote on its Facebook page.

    The diplomats also expressed hope that the US State Department would provide Moscow with assistance in establishing direct communication with the quarantined Russians.

    Airmen from the Moffett Federal Airfield based, 129th Rescue Wing deliver coronavirus test-kits to the Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California, U.S. in this still image from a handout video obtained by Reuters on March 5, 2020
    © REUTERS / California National Guard
    Airmen from the Moffett Federal Airfield based, 129th Rescue Wing deliver coronavirus test-kits to the Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California, U.S. in this still image from a handout video obtained by Reuters on March 5, 2020

    According to the shipping company, there are over 3,500 people - mostly American citizens - on board the vessel, which is now being quarantined, as at least 21 have tested positive for the coronavirus. The passengers are staying in their rooms to prevent the infection from spreading. At the moment, there is no information about where the ship will dock.

    The Grand Princess was checked after reports that one person, who had been travelling via the ship earlier died of the coronavirus in February. At least 10 passengers, who were on the same voyage are also infected, and some of them stayed on board, exposing others passengers to the disease, according to reports.

    In the meantime, the coronavirus continues spreading across the globe, with over 100,000 infected in around 80 countries.  The death toll has reached 3,400. Outside China, where it was originally reported in December, the main centres of infection are South Korea, Iran, and Italy.

    Topic:
    2020 Coronavirus Outbreak (445)
    Tags:
    quarantine, quarantine, coronavirus, ship, California, Russia, United States
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