CDC says traces of coronavirus found on cruise ship surfaces after two weeks

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that traces of the coronavirus were found on cruise ship surfaces after more than two weeks. 

The study, published on the CDC's website, found that COVID-19 RNA traces were found on surfaces throughout the Diamond Princess cruise ship as long as 17 days after passengers and crew had disembarked from the voyage.

The ship was ravaged by cases of the virus and forced to conclude its trip by quarantining all guests and crew onboard.

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"SARS-CoV-2 RNA was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted," the study stated.

"Although these data cannot be used to determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces, further study of fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 aboard cruise ships is warranted," the researchers continued.

The Hill has reached out to the CDC for comment. 

According to a report from CNBC, the recent finding of coronavirus RNA traces does not necessarily indicate that the virus is spread via surface. The CDC researchers noted that there would be further investigation and testing needed to prove that method of proliferation. 

Cruise ships in particular have been identified as centers of high risk for the disease amid the global coronavirus outbreak. Several cruise ships containing passengers or crew with confirmed or suspected cases have been refused entry at ports around the world due to fears of spreading the disease.

More than 700 cases of the coronavirus were confirmed onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, with nine deaths reported among crew and passengers so far. The 3,711 people on board the ship were quarantined in their cabins by Japanese authorities after the ship docked, which some argue resulted in the virus spreading further.

Hundreds of U.S. citizens have been passengers aboard the various cruise ships refused entry at ports around the world, including nearly 430 on the Diamond Princess line.

This report has been updated March 25, 9:42 a.m.