Coronavirus: Passengers allowed to board New Jersey cruise ship again; ship to set sail Monday

BAYONNE, New Jersey (WABC) -- A cruise ship docked in New Jersey will depart Monday following a coronavirus scare that led to four passengers being tested for the potentially deadly illness and disrupted travel plans for thousands of vacationers.

The passengers tested negative after their cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas, docked and screened 27 passengers who had recently traveled from mainland China.

The cruise ship had left Cape Liberty on January 27 for an 11-day cruise to the Caribbean.

Crews cleaned the ship, which was originally supposed to depart on Friday but was delayed on orders from the Centers for Disease Control.

Some passengers were already on board early Monday, as Royal Caribbean allowed pre-boarding Sunday night after they got the all clear.

The Anthem of the Seas arrived in Bayonne Friday with a handful of the 4,000 people on board in quarantine.

A family of four who had recently traveled to China was hospitalized over concerns they could have coronavirus, which has now killed more than 900 people in China.

The family members tested negative for coronavirus, but some of them did test positive for the flu -- which has similar symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Royal Caribbean is compensating passengers for the severe disruption and offered full refunds to anyone who did not want to travel with the shortened itinerary.

"We've had this happen to us in our life (before) because of bad weather, it's out of their hands," a passenger said. "You know, they didn't plan on having a virus coming around the United States at this time. But they handled it very well, and we're very pleased and we told them we'll be back."

The cruise line has gone a step further, banning anyone with Chinese, Hong Kong or Macau passports from traveling, at least for the time being.

They are also banning anyone who has visited those countries within 30 days of their cruise.

New Jersey has no confirmed cases of the new virus, in the coronavirus family that includes Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, and severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

It causes fever, cough, shortness of breath and, in severe cases, pneumonia.

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