The corona virus was found on the Holland America Line (HAL) cruise ship Zaandam, which is currently off the coast of Panama. Four passengers died. That writes the cruise organization Friday in one statement.
The Zaandam was on a cruise along the coast of South America and left March 7 from Buenos Aires in Argentina. The intention was to dock in Chile on March 21, but due to the global coronavirus outbreak, no one has disembarked since March 14.
There are 1,242 passengers and 568 crew members on the ship. 53 passengers and 85 crew members have already reported flu-like symptoms. These persons are all self-insulated in their cabin. Testing for a number of passengers revealed on Thursday that two of them have the COVID-19 virus. It is not known whether the four deceased passengers, who were elderly, died from the effects of the virus.
Healthy passengers transferred to cruise ship Rotterdam
Zaandam is currently off the coast of Panama. The HAL has the plan to start Friday with the transfer of healthy passengers to sister ship Rotterdam, which is also located there.
The priority is given to passengers over the age of seventy. Before the transfer, every passenger will undergo a medical screening. Passengers who are already in isolation on the Zaandam will remain on that ship. Once arrived at Rotterdam, all passengers must also remain in their cabin.
The HAL is working with the authorities of Panama and the United States to move both ships through the Panama Canal to the port of Fort Lauderdale in the US state of Florida after the transfer.
Follow the latest developments around the virus in us live blog.
The coronavirus in short
- The coronavirus mainly spreads from person to person via sneezing and cough drops. The chance of becoming infected through surfaces such as door handles is small. This chance decreases if you wash your hands often.
- You can considerably reduce the chance of spreading by keeping at least 1.5 meters away from others.
- An infected person infects two to three others on average. Precautions are necessary to contain this.
- The vast majority of patients have mild (flu-like) complaints.
- Almost all deaths involve the elderly or other vulnerable persons, such as heart, lung or diabetes patients. If everyone complies with the measures, this reduces their risks.
- Read here what precautions you should take.