BAYONNE — Four Chinese nationals taken to a hospital from a cruise ship docked at Cape Liberty on Friday morning, officials say, and several more people were being screened for coronavirus.

Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday morning 27 Chinese nationals were screened after the Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas docked around 6 a.m. after being in the Bahamas for the past week.

Twenty-three people were cleared, Murphy said. Four individuals were being evaluated at an area hospital.

"The hospital is following proper infection control protocols while evaluating these individuals," Murphy said in a statement.

31,300 cases of the novel coronavirus, which first appeared in the Chinese industrial city of Wuhan in the central part of the country, have been reported worldwide with 12 cases in the United States. No cases have been reported in New Jersey.

Video posted by NBC 4 New York's Tracie Strahan showed three ambulances pulled up to the ship after it docked around 6 a.m. and patients being wheeled off in stretchers.

Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis told NBC 4 New York that four passengers with fevers were taken to University Hospital in Newark for "close observation." One of the passengers was given Tylenol and the fever went away, Davis told NBC 4 New York. He also said that none of the Chinese nationals had been to Wuhan.

"I am certain that the NJ DoH, CDC, and PA NY/NJ are prepared and equipped to address any concerns this morning," Davis said in a message on his Twitter account.

In a statement, Royal Caribbean said it was "participating in elevated levels of guest screening to check the spread of coronavirus. We are closely monitoring developments regarding coronavirus and have rigorous medical protocols in place on board our ships."

The Anthem of the Seas has a capacity of more than 4,000 passengers on 16 decks.

The DOH launched a hotline this week people can call with questions about the illness at 1-800-222-1222.

The Pentagon announced Thursday the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst will house up to 20 individuals who may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus if needed in a stand-alone building, the base’s Doughboy Inn.

Joint Base personnel will not be directly in contact with the passengers, and passengers will not have access to any base location other than their assigned lodging, according to a statement by the base. The Joint Base is one of 11 installations chosen around the country because of proximity to major airports.

 

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