In this Feb. 11, 2020 photo, the Grand Princess cruise ship passes the Golden Gate Bridge as it arrives from Hawaii in San Francisco.
Scott Strazzante | San Francisco Chronicle via AP
Princess Cruises said it will test fewer than 100 people aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, which California health officials said is the site of another COVID-19 outbreak.
The ship, which was on a two-week voyage to Hawaii, was ordered to return early to San Francisco, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said, adding that passengers and crew have developed symptoms.
Shares of parent company Carnival Corp. slumped by more than 12% in intraday trading.
The ship was due to arrive in San Francisco Wednesday, Newsom said, but is currently off the coast of California, according to Seascanner, which tracks the location of ships. It has a capacity of 2,600 guests and 1,150 crew members.
“That ship is now being delayed to provide ample opportunity for the CDC in partnership with coast guard and state health officials to conduct tests,” Newsom told reporters late Wednesday, “because we have a number of passengers and crew members who have developed symptoms on this cruise ship.”
Newsom added that the U.S. Coast Guard will deliver test kits to the ship by helicopter on Thursday. The kits will be analyzed at Richmond lab, Newsom said, “where we’ll be able to very quickly, within just a few hours” test the samples.
Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard were not immediately available for comment.
Only passengers and crew who have symptoms and people who were guests on the ship’s previous voyage will be tested, the company said in a statement, adding that it’s fewer than 100.
Princess Cruises and its parent company, Carnival Cruises, did not respond to CNBC for comment.
Placer County health officials in northern California announced Wednesday that they traced the first COVID-19 death in the state, and the 11th in the country, to the Grand Princess cruise ship. The patient who died was aboard the ship from Feb. 11 to Feb. 21 on a trip from San Francisco to Mexico.
An unknown number of passengers remained on the ship for the voyage to Hawaii and are currently quarantined in their cabins, according to a letter sent to passengers by the company on Wednesday.
More than 2,500 passengers were on the ship for the Feb. 11 voyage, Newsom said, more than half of whom are Californians. That does not include the ship’s crew, Newsom said, adding that U.S. health officials are contacting everyone who was on board the ship for testing. He said California is now monitoring 9,400 people for COVID-19.
The Grand Princess cruise ship is owned by Carnival’s Princess Cruises, the same operator of the Diamond Princess ship, which was the site of what might have been the first major COVID-19 epidemic outside of China. The Diamond Princess was quarantined off the coast of Japan on Feb. 4 after a previous guest, who didn’t have any symptoms while aboard the ship, tested positive for the virus.
There were 3,700 passengers and crew aboard the ship and more than 700 became infected. The Japanese government and other nations eventually evacuated their citizens from the ship.