Coronavirus: Royal Caribbean passengers screened, 4 sent to hospital after cruise ship docks in NJ

Health officials screened about two dozen Royal Caribbean passengers for the 2019 novel coronavirus Friday morning after the Anthem of the Seas cruise ship docked in New Jersey with a dozen quarantined passengers on board, according to multiple reports.

Four people were taken to a hospital for further screening after the ship docked in Bayonne, Mayor Jimmy Davis said.

"I was advised that the CDC considers this (a) 'below low risk' situation," he said in a tweet, adding that all other passengers were released from the ship.

Davis told NBC that among those scrutinized was a passenger who had a fever. The fever went away after the person was given Tylenol, he said.

Ambulances and officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention greeted the ship as it arrived in Bayonne around 6 a.m. Friday, WABC reported.

The ship had been wrapping up a trip through the Caribbean that began in Bayonne on Jan. 27, NBC News reported, citing the ship's itinerary.

In a statement obtained by CNN, cruise line officials said they were closely monitoring the situation.

"Like airlines, we are participating in elevated levels of guest screening to check the spread of coronavirus," the statement said. "We continue to work in close consultation with the CDC, the WHO, and local health authorities to align with their guidance and ensure the health and wellbeing of our guests and crew."

On Twitter, Royal Caribbean officials told passengers they would be "conducting enhanced sanitation in the cruise terminal and onboard, as part of our ongoing illness prevention efforts."

Fears of coronavirus have prompted many cruise lines to bar passengers from boarding ships if they've been in China or Hong Kong in the 14 days prior to the ship's setting sail, The Associated Press reported.

Since the coronavirus was first detected last month in Wuhan, China, more than 31,400 cases of the virus have been confirmed globally. An overwhelming number of the cases were reported in China, where 637 people have died of the disease as of Friday morning, according to the World Health Organization. One person has died of coronavirus in the Philippines, health officials said.

In the U.S., a dozen people have been confirmed as having been infected with coronavirus: six in California, two in Illinois, one in Massachusetts, one in Arizona, one in Washington and one in Wisconsin.

Health officials recommend that any people who have recently traveled to Wuhan and subsequently experienced flu-like symptoms -- including fever, coughing, shortness of breath or a sore throat -- contact their health care providers.

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