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Carnival says crew on cruise ship quarantined near Japan will get long vacation

Coronavirus infections surge on cruise ship

Crew members aboard a ship operated by Carnival's Princess Cruises that is quarantined off the coast of Japan because of a coronavirus outbreak on the vessel will receive an extended vacation once their ordeal ends.

More than 1,000 workers on the ship have been looking after 2,666 passengers on the Diamond Princess since it was placed under quarantine 11 days ago. At least 174 people from the cruise have been diagnosed with the virus

"Princess Cruises has offered the Diamond Princess crew two months of paid time off. We will also handle their flights to return home and their job will be protected to return for another contract," a spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch in an email.

Coronavirus prompts worries about international cruise ships

The cruise operator is also offering Diamond Princess passengers a free cruise, as well as a full refund for the current excursion, which includes covering costs for onshore trips and tips paid to staff.

The Diamond Princess has been in quarantine since early last week, after the virus was detected in a former passenger who got off the ship last month in Hong Kong. Barring unexpected developments, the lockdown is scheduled to be lifted February 19 —  14 days after the isolation period began.

Outside of China, where the coronavirus has killed more than 1,100 people and sickened another 45,500, the Diamond Princess holds the largest cluster of cases.   

The cruise line's tally of confirmed virus cases on the ship include at least 10 crew members. The company has so far tested nearly 500 of the 3,711 passengers and crew on the ship, with more to be screened in coming days, according to Japanese health officials. At least 20 of those cases involve U.S. citizens, according to the company.

Carnival, the owner of Princess Cruises, has suspended operations from ports in China and is now canceling voyages in other parts of Asia as a result of the epidemic. On Wednesday, Carnival said the outbreak could hit its 2020 profit by as much as 65 cents a share if it has to suspend operations in Asia through April.

"As a result of coronavirus, the company believes the impact on its global bookings and canceled voyages will have a material impact on its financial results, which was not anticipated in the company's previous 2020 earnings guidance," Carnival stated.

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