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Four passengers on a cruise ship that docked near New York City have been taken to a hospital for further evaluation for the coronavirus.

Four passengers on a cruise ship that docked near New York City have been taken to a hospital for further evaluation for the coronavirus, after they and others were assessed at a New Jersey port, the state's governor said.

Officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention screened 27 passengers on the ship at the port in Bayonne, a New Jersey city just south of Manhattan, Gov Phil Murphy said in a statement. All those passengers recently had travelled to China; the other 23 were cleared.

No case of the coronavirus has been confirmed in New Jersey, and the "risk to residents remains low", Gov Murphy said.

"The hospital is following proper infection control protocols while evaluating these individuals."

None of the four passengers taken to a hospital showed "any clinical signs or symptoms of coronavirus" on board, Royal Caribbean said in a statement. One tested positive for the flu. They had not been in China since January 26.

The Royal Caribbean (RC) ship has a capacity of 4900 passengers and 1500 crew, but the number of people on board the vessel Friday (local time) wasn't immediately known. The hospital was not named in Murphy's statement.

The coronavirus emerged from China two months ago. It has killed 638 people, mostly in China, and paralysed the world's second biggest economy.

It has infected more than 31,000 in more than 25 countries and territories. The US has at least 12 confirmed cases, with hundreds more evacuees from China due back Friday.

Aboard the Anthem of the Seas, a pair of relatives became ill, a CDC spokesperson said. That family has been to mainland China but not to Hubei Province, where the coronavirus began spreading.

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CDC staff decided to test all four members of the family in an abundance of caution after consulting with the New Jersey Department of Health, the spokesperson said. State health officials will send the family's samples to the CDC for testing.

Royal Caribbean delayed the ship's departure from 4pm ET Friday to Saturday, although it had been "cleared by authorities" to depart as planned, the company said.

"We appreciate the CDC's abundance of caution," the cruise line said in its statement.

"To reassure concerned guests, we will delay our departure until tomorrow, when we expect to receive conclusive test results from the CDC."

Situation is 'below low risk', governor says

Ambulances and stretchers were positioned Friday near the Anthem of the Seas at the port at Bayonne, and personnel were boarding the ship, aerial video from CNN affiliates in New York shows.

"I have been briefed on the RC cruise ship arriving this morning," Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis tweeted.

"I am certain that the NJ DoH, CDC, and PA NY/NJ are prepared and equipped to address any concerns this morning."

Davis later tweeted, "RC Update: Approx 2 dozen were screened this morning with 4 sent to area hosp for further screening. I was advised CDC considers this 'Below Low Risk' situation. All other passengers released w/no action needed".

Royal Caribbean is "closely monitoring developments regarding coronavirus and have rigorous medical protocols in place onboard our ships", it said in a statement.

"Like airlines, we are participating in elevated levels of guest screening to check the spread of coronavirus," the cruise line said.

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"We continue to work in close consultation with the CDC, the WHO, and local health authorities to align with their guidance and ensure the health and wellbeing of our guests and crew."

Source: 9News

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