Story at a glance
- The lawsuit accuses the ship’s operator of gross negligence in allowing them to be exposed to coronavirus.
- The couple is seeking more than $1 million in damages.
- More than 3,500 passengers and crew members were held off the coast of San Francisco for days after 21 people tested positive for the illness.
A Florida couple still aboard the cruise ship docked in Oakland, Calif., where at least 21 passengers became infected with the coronavirus has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the ship’s operator, according to CNN.
Ronald and Eva Weissberger of Broward County, Fla., filed the lawsuit against Princess Cruise Lines, accusing the company of gross negligence for allowing passengers to be exposed to the novel coronavirus on the Grand Princess cruise liner.
The lawsuit says Princess Cruise Lines allowed the ship to sail despite “knowing that the ship was infected from two previous passengers who came down with symptoms of COVID-19” according to CNN.
Princess Cruises issued a statement saying its response amid the COVID-19 outbreak is within the parameters mandated by government agencies involved and said it had “not been served with any lawsuit relating to this matter, and we will not comment on any pending litigation.”
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The lawsuit claims none of the passengers aboard the cruise ship were informed when an email was sent to previous ship passengers on Feb. 25 notifying them of a possible exposure on the cruise liner. The suit says the cruise line should have taken more precautionary measures, following the COVID-19 outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship last month that infected more than 700 people.
The couple says they would not have boarded the ship if they had been told and would have disembarked in Honolulu on Feb. 26 if they had been made aware of the risk.
The cruise ship was held off the coast of California last week after it was determined that previous passengers tested positive for COVID-19. One of the patients died after being infected with the virus.
Passengers began disembarking the 3,500-person cruise ship Monday, and more are expected to be removed today. Those who do not show any symptoms after screening will be transferred to military bases for quarantine. At least 21 people, two passengers and 19 crew members, tested positive for the illness.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State Department warned Americans this week not to travel by cruise ship due to the spike of COVID-19 cases linked to cruises.
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