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Grand Princess crew ends quarantine; ship to sail out to sea

April 4, 2020 GMT
Framed by the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the Grand Princess cruise ship makes its way to an anchorage Monday, March 16, 2020, in San Francisco. The coronavirus-stricken cruise ship has left the Port of Oakland after a week and is moving to an anchorage in San Francisco, where it'll stay temporarily for remaining crew members and six passengers to complete a 14-day-quarantine. According to the World Health Organization, most people recover in about two to six weeks, depending on the severity of the illness. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Framed by the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the Grand Princess cruise ship makes its way to an anchorage Monday, March 16, 2020, in San Francisco. The coronavirus-stricken cruise ship has left the Port of Oakland after a week and is moving to an anchorage in San Francisco, where it'll stay temporarily for remaining crew members and six passengers to complete a 14-day-quarantine. According to the World Health Organization, most people recover in about two to six weeks, depending on the severity of the illness. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Nearly 650 crew members of the Grand Princess completed their 14-day quarantine Saturday, ending a nearly month-long period of self-isolation that began when the cruise ship was struck with the coronavirus.

The cruise line Princess Cruises said the crew members can finally leave their staterooms and roam around the ship as long as they wear personal protective equipment and stay at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) from each other. The ship will leave San Francisco Bay and sail out to sea for several days of routine marine operations.

Early next week, the ship will dock temporarily at the Port of San Francisco to stock up on provisions. The cruise line was still working out a plan on where it will go next.

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The cruise ship industry is currently under a 30-day suspension of all trips from the U.S. that took effect on March 14. This week, the U.S. Coast Guard directed cruise ships to be sequestered “indefinitely” offshore during the pandemic.

The Grand Princess was forced to return to San Francisco in early March after more than a dozen people tested positive for the coronavirus. While passengers eventually disembarked at the Port of Oakland and were taken to U.S. bases for quarantine or repatriated to their home countries, hundreds of crew members remained on board, under quarantine.

Two male passengers were the first on board the ship to die from COVID-19, federal officials announced last week, while at least 103 had tested positive.

A third person who died from COVID-19 was a crew member who died on April 1, said Negin Kamali, a spokeswsoman for Princess Cruises.

“Our hearts go out to his family, friends, team members and all who are impacted by this loss,” she said.