Four passengers on ship off South America have died: cruise line

Four passengers on ship off South America have died: cruise line

Four passengers died aboard a cruise ship carrying several people with flu-like symptoms that has been stranded on the Pacific coast of South America for several days, the cruise company said on Friday.

The news release said that when the ship first saw guests report flu-like symptoms on March 22, the crew took protective measures and asked all guests to self-isolate in their rooms.

One day earlier, the cruise line said it tested "a number" of people for COVID-19.

Holland America Line announced the deaths aboard Zaandam on Friday, adding the deceased are older adult guests.

The cruise line said it would begin transferring healthy passengers to a sister vessel, the MS Rotterdam, today.

The bubble burst on Sunday when a number of passengers reported to the ship's medical centre with influenza-like illness symptoms.

"Only those who have not been ill will be moved, and health screenings will be conducted before transferring", Holland America wrote in a statement.

National
National

"The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is aware of the situation on the MS Zaandam, which is now off the coast of Panama and expected to dock in the United States".

Holland America sent another cruise liner, the Rotterdam, carrying COVID-19 test kits, supplies and relief staff to meet the Zaandam in Panamanian waters. Priority is being given to people with inside staterooms who are over age 70.

There are four doctors and four nurses on Zaandam; Rotterdam has two doctors and four nurses. Any guests who are ill, or have come into close contact with someone sick, will remain on the Zaandam.

The cruise line says it is continuing to work with the Panamanian authorities on approval to transit the Panama Canal and eventually dock in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"If there are confirmed cases of COVID-19, the ship has to go into quarantine", Vásquez was quoted by Telemetro Reporta.

Holland America said Zaandam was sailing a South America cruise, leaving Buenos Aires on March 7 and was originally scheduled to end at San Antonio, Chile, on March 21. The company has since suspended global cruise operations for 30 days and made a decision to end current cruises as quickly as possible.

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