A cruise ship carrying more than 1, people off Panama is in a race to transfer healthy passengers to another ship after four people died – and two others tested positive for coronavirus.
The owners of the Zaandam, Holland America, said that more than
people on board had reported suffering “flu-like symptoms” and respiratory issues.
Nobody has left the ship since it docked in Chile two weeks ago.
Holland America said it planned to transfer passengers to a sister ship. The Zaandam and the Rotterdam are both off the western, Pacific coast of Panama. The Zaandam plans to sail through the Panama Canal to the Caribbean Sea and continue to Florida.
The Panamanian authorities have said no vessel with confirmed coronavirus cases on board can pass through the Panama Canal.
, “the Dutch-owned operator said in a statement on Facebook, adding that it would follow” strict protocols ” .
It said that “four older guests” had died, but did not give further details about the causes of death.
“We received approval from Panamanian authorities to conduct ship-to-ship operations at anchor between the two vessels,” the statement reads.
The ships have already transferred medical supplies and staff.
We continue to work with the Panamanian authorities on approval to transit the Panama Canal for sailing to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, “Holland America said.
It added that and
crew members had reported influenza-like illness symptoms.
There are 1, (guests and) crew on board the Zaandam, including four doctors and four nurses. On the Rotterdam there are two doctors and four nurses, the company said.
The Panama Maritime Authority later said that passengers who were not displaying coronavirus symptoms could be transferred to the Rotterdam.
“It has been connected that it does not represent any risk to our population since it will be carried out more than eight miles from the mainland, “the authority said, adding that the bodies of the deceased would remain on the Zaandam.
The Zaandam was on a South America cruise that departed from Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 7 March.
On Friday, Panama reported that people had so far died in the country after contracting covid – , with 800 confirmed cases of infection.
There are now more than 19, coronavirus cases in South America, AFP news agency reported.
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