The family of a California cruise ship passenger who died of coronavirus has sued Princess Cruises and its parent company in federal court.

Ronald Wong, 64, and his wife, Eva, were passengers on the Grand Princess when the ship set sail from San Francisco on Feb. 21. He died in a California hospital a month later after testing positive for coronavirus. Eva Wong tested positive and recovered. 

According to the complaint, filed last week in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Princess and its parent, Carnival Corp., should have known that a passenger on the ship’s prior voyage had coronavirus.

The 71-year-old man, who had boarded the ship earlier in February for a trip to Mexico, died March 4 at a hospital in Roseville, California. He was the first known California resident to die from the virus.

According to the complaint, 62 passengers and 1,000 crew members who sailed on the Grand Princess to Mexico stayed on board for the next sailing to Hawaii. 

In a conference call with reporters on March 7, Carnival’s chief medical officer Grant Tarling revealed that the passenger who died just days earlier had potentially infected other passengers and crew members.

The Grand Princess docked at the Port of Oakland on March 9. A total of 131 people on the ship tested positive for the coronavirus, and five died.

The Grand Princess docked at the Port of Oakland on March 9, and hundreds of passengers were transported to two military bases in California for a 14-day quarantine. The Wongs were taken to Travis Air Force Base. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a no-sail order for cruise ships on March 14.

The Wongs initially showed no symptoms of the virus. However, Ronald developed a fever and persistent cough, and was taken to a hospital in Vallejo, California, on March 16. Both tested positive for coronavirus.

He died March 24. Eva Wong, who had booked the cruise to celebrate her husband’s birthday, never got to visit him in the hospital.

Five people died and 131 tested positive from the Hawaii sailing of the Grand Princess.

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The Wong lawsuit is one of roughly a dozen filed by Grand Princess passengers or their families.

The company does not comment on pending litigation, Princess Cruises spokeswoman Negin Kamali told USA TODAY.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: Grand Princess passenger’s family sues Carnival cruises


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