Carnival Cruise ship warns passengers they may have been exposed to coronavirus

Passengers of a Carnival Cruise ship that set sail on the same day the State Dept warned travelers to stop going on cruises is warning passengers they may have been exposed to coronavirus.

Miami Herald reports passengers on the Carnival Freedom, which left Galveston, Texas, for a six-day cruise on March 8, were asked to quarantine for two weeks after a crew member tested positive for COVID-19, according to a letter sent to passengers.

The crew member was hospitalized Monday and received positive test results “late Wednesday,” said Carnival Spokesman Chris Chiames. The letter went out Thursday by email.

Chiames said they isolated crew with any flu-like illnesses or who came into contact with the sick crew member, but he did not respond to a query about how many crew members were feeling ill. He said all crew members have been moved to single cabins, and the ship is promoting social distancing. Staff who are monitoring the isolated crew members have personal protective equipment.

“In the meantime, given the community spread of COVID-19 and the fact that most of our homeports are in various stages of lockdown, we have kept all crew on board and not allowed shore privileges,” he said.

The Freedom has been docked in Gulfport, Mississippi, since it disembarked passengers in Galveston on March 14, the day after the company halted all cruise operations.