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Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined for COVID-19, another is hit with different illness

The Caribbean Princess ship came back to Florida early after 345 passengers and 26 crew members fell ill with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.
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A Princess cruise ship returned early to the Port of Everglades in Florida on Thursday due to hundreds of passengers and crew becoming afflicted with a gastrointestinal illness.

The sickness among those aboard the Caribbean Princess came as another of the cruise line's ships, the Diamond Princess, remains quarantined off Japan with more than 200 people on board sickened with COVID-19, a disease caused by coronavirus.

The Caribbean Princess departed Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 2 and was due to return on Feb. 16, but came back three days early after 345 passengers and 26 crew members fell ill, with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 4,200 people were on board.

The ship was denied entry during its voyage to at least one port, Trinidad and Tobago, over health concerns, NBC South Florida reported.

The cause of the outbreak is unknown, according to the CDC.

The ship will undergo a "super sanitation cleaning," and a team with the the CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program met the ship at port to investigate the outbreak. The Caribbean Princess will resume its regular schedule and depart on its next cruise on Feb. 16, the CDC reported.

A statement from Princess Cruises said the trip was cut short "out of an abundance of caution due to guests reporting symptoms consistent with a mild case of gastrointestinal illness."

"This is a highly unusual development and we share the disappointment of our guests," the statement said. Passengers will receive a 50 percent refund for the cruise to use toward a future Princess cruise.

No cases of COVID-19 were identified on the Caribbean Princess, the Princess Cruises statement noted.

The cruise line confirmed Thursday that 44 more people aboard the Diamond Princess, quarantined in Japan, were confirmed to have COVID-19, bringing the total number to 218, Japan’s Health Ministry said Thursday local time.

That ship is scheduled to be quarantined until Feb. 19.

There have been no deaths from COVID-19 on the cruise ship.

The disease has killed more than 1,300 people in mainland China as of Thursday morning local time, according to Chinese authorities.