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Four passengers dead on cruise ship anchored off Panama

Holland America Line said in a post on its Facebook page that more than 130 people on the Zaandam had reported flu-like symptoms.

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The Zaandam cruise ship is carrying some guests with flu-like symptoms (AP/Arnulfo Franco)

The Zaandam cruise ship is carrying some guests with flu-like symptoms (AP/Arnulfo Franco)

The Zaandam cruise ship is carrying some guests with flu-like symptoms (AP/Arnulfo Franco)

Four passengers have died on a cruise ship anchored off the coast of Panama.

Holland America Line said in a post on its Facebook page that more than 130 people on the Zaandam had reported flu-like symptoms.

“Holland America Line can confirm that four older guests have passed away on Zaandam,” the statement said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and we are doing everything we can to support them during this difficult time.”

It did not identify the cause of death.

It also said that two people on the ship have tested positive for Covid-19.

The Zaandam cruise ship
Two people on the ship have tested positive for Covid-19 (AP/Arnulfo Franco)

The ship, which had been denied passage through the Panama Canal and had been turned away from other ports, 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.

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“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 on board the Zaandam.

The Zaandam departed Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7. The ship was trying to get to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after being denied permission to dock at its original destination of San Antonio, Chile a week ago. The cruise line said no one had been off the ship since March 14 in Punta Arenas, Chile.

On March 22, when a number of passengers began reporting flu-like symptoms, the ship instituted protective measures, including telling everyone to self-isolate in their cabins, the cruise line said. On Thursday, all passengers and crew received masks and instruction on how to use them.

There are four doctors and four nurses on the Zaandam, according to cruise line statement, while the Rotterdam had two doctors and four nurses aboard.


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