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Grand Princess and Golden Gate.jpg FILE PHOTO: JAKE TOMLINSON
There is now a plan to repatriate non-essential crew of Grand Princess, which has been docked at the Port of Oakland in San Francisco Bay to disembark passengers into quarantine

March 15 coronavirus updates: Australia ban, Grand Princess crew, Braemar's limbo, Pullmantur

In addition to feature story coverage, here's a quick read of some of today’s other coronavirus-related cruise news and announcements.

Australia bans cruise ships arriving from foreign ports

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced cruise ships arriving from foreign ports will not be allowed for an initial 30-day period. And anyone arriving from abroad, including Australians, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, under penalty of law. 

Repatriation of Grand Princess crew

The US Departments of State and Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state of California, the city of Oakland and the Port of San Francisco have coordinated a plan to disembark and repatriate Grand Princess crew members via charter flights.

This has been extremely challenging due to expanding and evolving air travel restrictions throughout the world.

Princess Cruises applauded this humanitarian effort to assist crew not required for ship's operation and will pay for the ground transportation and charter flight costs.

Disembarking crew will undergo the same health screenings as passengers did, managed by US authorities. Those who are ill (for any reason) or symptomatic will not be allowed to fly. Crew who are asymptomatic but for whom no charter flight is currently available will stay under quarantine on the ship. Those requiring elevated care will be moved to land-based medical facilities.

Fred. Olsen's Braemar waits

Fred. Olsen's Braemar is anchored 25 miles southwest of Freeport in the Bahamas, awaiting supplies and additional medical personnel while diplomatic discussions continue how to get passengers home as quickly as possible.

Twenty passengers are in isolation, having shown influenza-like symptoms, along with 20 crew members, including a doctor. These include five people who tested positive for COVID-19 at the last port, Willemstad, Curaçao, on March 10.

Pullmantur 'pauses'

Pullmantur Cruises is suspending operations until May 2. The company is focused on getting passengers currently on board back to their home cities and in the coming days will contact customers who were booked for the canceled period to explain their options.

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