A crew member on a cruise ship that was delayed in New Jersey after dozens of its passengers were screened for signs of the coronavirus was found dead on the ship, NBC New York reported Saturday. Law enforcement sources cited by NBC said they believe the 54-year-old man died of unrelated causes but they are approaching the case with an “abundance of caution” and awaiting autopsy results.
The Filipino crew member was reportedly found in an engine room last weekend and his body was kept in a refrigerated compartment until the ship arrived in New Jersey. His body was reportedly transported to Newark for a “rush” autopsy. Twenty-seven Chinese nationals who were traveling on the Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas cruise ship were tested for the virus after the ship docked in Bayonne on Friday.
Four individuals were taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure. The CDC said that none of them “showed any clinical signs or symptoms of coronavirus,” but one had tested positive for influenza.
Royal Caribbean delayed the cruise ship’s departure until Monday as they wait for the CDC screening results. “Unfortunately, due to the volume of tests they are conducting for Coronavirus, they will need the next 24-48 hours to complete the test,” the company said in a statement Saturday.