The Grand Princess cruise ship is set to arrive in Victoria on April 3. (Flickr/Chilli Head)

Cruise ship being held in California due to presumptive COVID-19 cases scheduled to be Victoria’s first call

The Grand Princess is scheduled to arrive April 3

A cruise ship being held off the coast of California, awaiting test results for the coronavirus, is scheduled to be the first ship to arrive in Victoria this season.

The Grand Princess by Princess Cruise Lines, which carries more than 3,500 people – including 235 Canadians– is being held off of the coast of California pending test results showing whether passengers and crew members were infected with coronavirus. The first person in California to die from the coronavirus had previously travelled on the ship, and now more than 20 people on board are showing symptoms. Test kits were recently delivered to the ship via helicopter.

The Grand Princess is supposed to dock in Victoria on April 3.

ALSO READ: Victoria to see extra ships after cruise company cancels Asia tour in wake of COVID-19

Presently, harbor authorities are still planning on the ship arriving.

“With respect to our season beginning this April and COVID-19, we are working with Island Health, the provincial health office, and Health Canada on procedures and policies for all inbound vessels and passengers. Our organization is prepared to put in place what is needed and we will follow the guidance of the provincial health experts,” said Ian Robertson, CEO for the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA), which operates Victoria’s cruise ship terminal.

ALSO READ: VIDEO: B.C. premier, health officials unveil response plan for COVID-19

“As this situation is evolving, we are remaining engaged with their teams and will adapt policies as needed should the need dictate or elevate. The policies that will be in place will be nationwide and then specific to all individual ports such as Victoria. Procedures and policies will be in place before our first call that is currently, and originally, scheduled for April 3.”

Presently extra precautions such as signage, extra sanitation stations, and larger supplies of hand sanitizers and masks have been placed at other entry points to the City, including the Canadian Border Services at the Coho and Clipper terminals in downtown Victoria, as well as at the Vancouver International Airport.

– with files from the Canadian Press, Associated Press

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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