A US cruise ship hit by coronavirus and understood to be carrying a number of Irish citizens has been given permission to dock, with its passengers to disembark in Oakland.

Nineteen crew members and two American passengers are confirmed as having the virus on board the Grand Princess  - out of 45 people tested.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has said the consulate in San Francisco is in touch with local authorities and monitoring the situation closely.

Authorities have ordered the vessel to remain at sea off the coast of San Francisco, where it was due to dock yesterday following a 14-day trip to Hawaii, after it emerged that a passenger on a previous voyage had contracted the virus and later died.

The vessel will instead go to nearby Oakland tomorrow and begin disembarking passengers in need of "acute medical treatment," vessel owner Princess Cruises said in a statement.

The ship's crew will be quarantined and treated on board the ship, the company added.

Around half of the vessel's 1,100 crew hail from the Philippines and several are among those diagnosed with the virus, according to Princes Cruises.

US Vice President Mike Pence, who is managing the US government's response to the Covid-19 outbreak, said earlier that all 3,533 passengers and crew would be tested for coronavirus and quarantined if necessary.


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Coronavirus test kits are delivered on board by the California National Guard

Further south in Los Angeles, passengers on board another cruise ship were told they must remain on the vessel overnight.

The order came after a woman was taken off the Carnival Panorama cruise ship to be tested for the virus, the Long Beach Post reported.

The virus has already spread to 30 US states, killing at least 19 people, while the American capital announced its first case yesterday, and citizens were coming to terms with public events being cancelled across the country.

The number of confirmed cases in New York has risen to 89

New York became the latest state to declare an emergency as the number of patients there rose to 89, including a driver who apparently worked for ride-sharing company Uber.

The announcement came as the first US service member stationed at home tested positive.

Maryland officials also reported that two people who were at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference attended by Mr Pence and President Donald Trump had tested positive for the virus.

Starbucks reported that one of its employees in downtown Seattle had tested positive, and the store shut for cleaning.

Asked whether he was worried about the virus getting closer to the White House, Donald Trump said he was "not concerned at all."

He also said he did not plan to cut his public engagements.

"We'll hold tremendous rallies," said Mr Trump before hosting a dinner in Florida for the president of Brazil.

Public events have been cancelled across the US in an effort to contain the epidemic.