The U.S. is asking Americans to avoid cruise ships just as it prepares to move more than 3,000 passengers and crew off the Grand Princess vessel off California following an outbreak of the new coronavirus on board.

Medical teams will enter the cruise ship Monday after at least 20 people where confirmed to be infected with the virus. They’ll assess the condition of those on board the boat, which remains in open waters near Oakland, California, California Governor Gavin Newsom said Sunday. Patients who are most acute and in need of hospitalization will be the first to leave when the ship docks in Oakland, while others will be quarantined at military bases across the country.

The State Department’s advisory on cruises comes as the Grand Princess, operated by Carnival Corp., joins a number of ships over the past two months either quarantined or banned entry from ports on virus fears. More than 700 cases were diagnosed on the Diamond Princess ship that was locked down off Japan for about two weeks in February, and other cruise-boat infections have also been identified, some after passengers disembarked. The incidences are fueling concern cruises are breeding grounds for the coronavirus, spreading as large numbers of people gather in the same area -- often at close quarters -- for long periods of time.

“U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship,” the advisory said. “This is a fluid situation,” it added, and Americans can’t rely on repatriation flights as the risk of quarantine by local authorities increases.

The State Department also extended the advisory to avoid crowded places in general, including long plane rides, for the elderly and sick.

Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco, has been selected as the best site for the Grand Princess to drop anchor as it’s the easiest to seal off, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services said in a press release Sunday. It is also the best site to securely move passengers toward their isolation destinations, and to ensure the safety of the public, according to the statement.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, in an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, said the passengers will not be released into the general public.

“We are not going to put infected people into communities,” he said. “Infected people will be quarantined, will be isolated appropriately so that we can make sure we’re not putting communities at risk.”

It’s not clear what time the Grand Princess, filled with passengers from 54 countries, will dock on Monday. The vessel, carrying 2,421 passengers and 1,113 crew members, is about two hours away from the Oakland port, according to Newsom.

“The City of Oakland, Alameda County and the Port of Oakland are stepping up in a major way,” Newsom said in a statement. “They are showing the world what makes our state great -- coming to the rescue of thousands of people trapped aboard this ship and helping tackle a national emergency.”

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