A Florida couple still stuck aboard a Grand Princess Cruise ship after nearly a week of quarantine filed a $1 million lawsuit against the liner’s operator for exposing them to the coronavirus and ultimately putting their health at risk.
Ronald and Eva Weissberger, from Broward County, were just two of 3,500 people aboard the ship, now docked in Oakland, Calif. It was held off the coast of San Francisco for days after two passengers and 19 crew members tested positive for the coronavirus.
According to the complaint, filed in Los Angeles Federal Court on Monday, Princess Cruise Lines opted to sail “knowing the ship was infected from two previous passengers who came down with symptoms of COVID-19, and had sixty-two passengers on board.”
The Weissbergers additionally alleged that there were no screening protocols for the illness before their cruise set off on Feb. 21.
“My condition is not the best. I have a pacemaker, a defibrillator in my chest,” Ronald Weissberger told CBS News.
“If we would have known, let’s say before we landed in the first port, we would have gotten off that ship and flown back home.”
The ship’s operator on March 4 announced it would cut its voyage short amid the outbreak, but it was forced to float off California until officials could find a spot for it to safely dock. Passengers and crew when they leave are going to be brought to a secure 11-acre containment area while the most critically ill will be loaded directly into ambulances.
Passengers were only allowed to begin disembarking the cruise ship on Monday and many still remained on board 24 hours later. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said it could take two to three days to get everybody off the ship due to mandatory screening in the area.
“Princess has been sensitive to the difficulties the COVID-19 outbreak has caused to our guests and crew,” the cruise line said in a statement to CNN.
“Our response throughout this process has focused on the well-being of our guests and crew within the parameters mandated on us by the government agencies involved and the evolving medical understanding of this new illness. We [have] not been served with any lawsuit relating to this matter, and we will not comment on any pending litigation.”
Princess Cruise Lines also operated the Diamond Princess cruise, which was temporarily quarantined in Yokohama, Japan. More than 700 people tested positive for the coronavirus.
The State Department on Sunday urged Americans against traveling by cruise ship due to a spike in cases linked to the liners.
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