12 Houston-area coronavirus cases linked to Egypt cruise


Cleaning staff uses disinfectants to clean a train of the Romanian Railway Service, in Bucharest, Romania on February 26, 2020. Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea via REUTERS

Another recent traveler on an Egypt cruise ship tested positive for the new coronavirus in Harris County on Sunday, according to a county press release.

The Houston area now has 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with six cases each in Harris and Fort Bend counties. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Friday that at least 17 people in the area recently returned from a group trip to Egypt, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The statuses of the other travelers remain unknown.

A man in Fort Bend County was the first of the group to test positive on Thursday. Until Monday, the Egypt travelers made up all of Texas's positive COVID-19 cases, outside of the 11 confirmed cases for evacuees who were repatriated and held at San Antonio Lackland Air Force Base. On Monday, a man in Collin County also tested positive for the respiratory virus. He is thought to have caught it while traveling in California, making him the first in Texas to have contracted it domestically.

The U.S. Department of State this weekend released a travel advisory in response to the spread of the new coronavirus on multiple cruise ships from which Americans have had to be repatriated.

"U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship," the release reads. "CDC notes increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment."

While U.S. citizens from ships like the Diamond Princess, the Grand Princess and others have been repatriated, "flights should not be relied upon as an option for U.S. citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities," the release continued.

All of the Texas cases have so far been travel-related, and there is still no evidence of community spread in the state.