The Grand Princess cruise ship during a cruise to Hawaii in February 2020.
Twenty-one people onboard a cruise ship stranded off the coast of San Francisco have tested positive for the new coronavirus, Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday.
"Among those positive for coronavirus were 19 crew members and two passengers," said Pence, who has been tasked by President Donald Trump to coordinate the US government's response to the outbreak.
Pence said the ship will be brought to a non-commercial dock this weekend and all 3,533 passengers and crew will be tested.
"We will be testing everyone on the ship and quarantining as necessary," Pence said.
"But with regard to the 1,100-member crew, we anticipate that they will be quarantined on the ship."
The Grand Princess has been stranded off San Francisco since Wednesday -- when it was supposed to dock -- after it emerged that two people who had been on the ship during its previous voyage had contracted the virus. One later died.
Pence said he believes the numbers of those infected was high among the crew as they had likely been exposed during two previous outings.
Passenger Carolyn Wright, 63, told a section of the media that guests were hoping the ship will dock soon.
"Looks like we'll be stuck here for a while," she said, adding that she was crossing her fingers that neither she nor her friend would end up sick.
Pence said he expects four million tests to be shipped to states impacted by the end of next week.
Bracing for spike
In California, where more than 60 people have been diagnosed with the virus -- including two airport medical screeners -- and one person has died, health officials were bracing for the numbers to spike as more and more people are tested.
The person who died was a 71-year-old man who had been onboard the Grand Princess during its previous voyage between San Francisco and Mexico.
Health officials sounded the alarm over the cruise ship after several passengers who were on the previous voyage and remained on the vessel for its next trip to Hawaii developed flu-like symptoms.
Princess Cruises said there were 3,533 people aboard, including 2,422 passengers and 1,111 crew. In total, they represent 54 nationalities.
Princess Cruises operates the Diamond Princess -- the coronavirus-stricken ship held off Japan last month from which more than 700 people tested positive and six died.
Trump, who flew back to Washington after a weekend golfing at his Florida resort and having dinner with Brazil's right-wing president, has spent weeks dismissing the seriousness of the threat.
Epidemiologists have said faulty test kits coupled with a diagnostic strategy that initially targeted too few people allowed the disease to spread beyond US authorities' ability to detect it.
Trump, in a rare Oval Office address to the nation on Wednesday night, said the month-long restriction on travel would begin late on Friday, at midnight. After days of playing down the coronavirus threat, he blamed Europe for not acting quickly enough to address the "foreign virus” and claimed that US clusters were "seeded” by European travellers.
At a closed council meeting Tuesday on the mission known as UNIFIL, whose mandate is up for renewal at the end of the month, US Ambassador Kelly Craft stressed the need for a new mandate.
At least 60 officers were injured the previous evening as a furious crowd attacked a police station, set vehicles on fire and burnt down the house of a local lawmaker whose nephew was allegedly responsible for the social media post.
Explosives tied to balloons and kites first emerged as a weapon in Gaza during intense protests in 2018, when the makeshift devices drifted across the border daily, causing thousands of fires in Israeli farms and communities.