A crew member has been found dead on a cruise ship where four people were tested for coronavirus amid fears of an outbreak.
The man’s body was found by staff on February 2 after the Royal Caribbean cruise ship The Anthem of the Seas had docked in St Lucia and the male employee had failed to show for his shift, A Port Authority spokesperson confirmed.
Days later, four passengers, who are Chinese nationals, were rushed to hospital on Friday after the vessel docked in Bayonne, New Jersey, over fears they had contracted coronavirus, The New York Post reported.
They were among 27 passengers isolated on the 12-day cruise as they had recently travelled from mainland China. All were screened for coronavirus when the ship arrived on Friday, CBS reported. The four were sent to hospital for further evaluation but tested negative to the virus.
Travel arrangements were reportedly made for the Chinese passengers’ immediate return to China under new instruction from President Donald Trump amid the global coronavirus outbreak.
After the ship docked at Bayonne more than 4000 passengers fled the vessel as emergency vehicles waited at the port. Some passengers complained that during the trip they had not been informed over a possible coronavirus outbreak.
One passenger said relatives had contacted them after seeing news reports about the a potential outbreak but they were told by staff on the ship that it was “fake news”.
“They totally lied to us,” the passenger told the New York Post.
There were no positive tests for coronavirus from the vessel and the crew member’s death is not related to coronavirus, officials said.
St Lucia police were not treating the death as suspicious.The body of the Filipino man was found in an engine room, NBC4NY reported.
The incident comes after more than 60 people were confirmed to have contracted coronavirus on board a cruise ship in Japan.
So far the virus has killed 812 people within China.
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