4 Die on Cruise Ship Isolated Off Panama

Crews try to move healthy passengers to another ship
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 27, 2020 3:25 PM CDT
Cruise Ship Tries to Move Passengers After 4 Deaths
Panamanian Navy Police navigate Friday near the anchored Zaandam cruise ship in the bay of Panama City.   (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

Four passengers have died aboard a cruise ship now anchored off the coast of Panama, and two people aboard the ship have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the cruise line said Friday. Holland America Line said in a post on its Facebook page that more than 130 people aboard the Zaandam had reported flu-like symptoms, the AP reports. "Holland America Line can confirm that four older guests have passed away on Zaandam," the statement said. The ship was receiving medical supplies and medical personnel from another Holland America ship, the Rotterdam, and the company planned to begin transferring healthy passengers to that ship.

"Priority for the first guests to transfer will be given to those on Zaandam with inside staterooms and who are over 70," the statement said. There are 1,243 guests and 586 crew members on the Zaandam, which left Buenos Aires on March 7. The ship was trying to get to Fort Lauderdale after being denied permission to dock at its original destination of Chile. The Rotterdam rendezvoused with the Zaandam on Thursday evening. "It is only authorized to do ship-to-ship maneuvers. No one aboard is allowed to come ashore," said a Panamanian official. The Zaandam had planned to pass through the Panama Canal en route to Florida, but after being inspected by Panamanian authorities, the request to use the canal was denied, the canal administrator said. Read the full story for more.

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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