Princess Cruises has responded to and provided more information following a CDC report issued on March 23.
“We also wanted to provide additional context to the CDC’s report issued on March 23 regarding COVID-19 testing on cruise ships: Not mentioned in the report is the fact that Princess Cruises volunteered to preserve select staterooms onboard Diamond Princess, known to have been occupied by positive cases,” the company said.
“This testing was done in full collaboration with the Japan Ministry of Health and U.S. CDC. This testing was designed to support these two public health agencies in collecting more data to support further research of the virus. According to researchers with Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases, what was detected on surfaces was SARS-CoV-2 RNA*, NOT live virus, in select cruise ship cabins after they were vacated, and this testing was intentionally conducted before disinfection occurred. These findings were expected because Princess Cruises voluntarily preserved these staterooms for this testing.”
*RNA, short for ribonucleic acid, is genetic material which carries the genetic information of many viruses. It can indicate if the virus was present but does not indicate the virus was still alive.
The findings do not indicate that transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19, was transmitted via these surfaces.
More research must be completed to determine if virus can be transmitted by SARS-CoV-2 fomites (objects or materials which are likely to carry infection, such as clothes, utensils, and furniture), the company said, in a statement.