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Twenty-one on cruise ship off US test postive for coronavirus

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Twenty-one people on board a cruise ship stranded off the coast of San Francisco have tested positive for the new coronavirus, US Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday.

[LOS ANGELES] Twenty-one people on board a cruise ship stranded off the coast of San Francisco have tested positive for the new coronavirus, Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday.

"Among those positive for coronavirus were 19 crew members and two passengers," said Mr Pence, who has been tasked by President Donald Trump to coordinate the US government's response to the outbreak.

Mr Pence said the ship will be brought to a non-commercial dock this weekend, and all 3,533 passengers and crew will be tested.

"We will be testing everyone on the ship and quarantining as necessary," Mr Pence said. "But with regard to the 1,100-member crew, we anticipate that they will be quarantined on the ship."

The Grand Princess has been stranded off the coast of San Francisco since Wednesday - when it was supposed to dock - after it emerged that two people who had been on the ship during its previous voyage had contracted the virus. One of them later died.

Mr Pence said he believes the numbers of those infected was high among the crew, as they had likely been exposed during two previous outings.

He added that by the end of next week, he expects four million test kits to be shipped to states impacted by the virus.

Princess Cruises operates the Diamond Princess, the coronavirus-stricken ship held off Japan last month from which more than 700 people tested positive and six died.

More than 200 people have contracted the deadly virus in the United States, and 12 people have died, 11 of them in the state of Washington.

Worldwide, more than 3,000 people have died from the fast-spreading virus that has infected more than 100,000 people in some 85 countries.

AFP