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Four Dead on Zaandam as Passenger Transfer Gets Underway

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Holland America Line’s Zaandam, which has been turned away from several ports, is now reporting four passenger deaths onboard and two confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The ship covid-19-test-kits-to-ship-unable-to-dock.html” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>met up with a fleetmate, Rotterdam, as 138 people reported influenza-like illness symptoms. Zaandam received medical staff and supplies, including COVID-19 test kits, when the two ships met off the coast of Panama.

The plan now is to transfer healthy Zaandam passengers to the Rotterdam with strict protocols for this process developed in conjunction with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the cruise line said in a statement.

[Read More: Cruise News]

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Only those who have not been ill will be moved, and health screenings will be conducted before transferring. Priority for the first guests to transfer will be given to those with inside staterooms and who are over 70. Once aboard Rotterdam, all guests will continue to remain in their staterooms until disembarkation. Any guests who are currently ill or in isolation as a close contact, along with all crew, will remain on Zaandam.

While the onward plan for both ships is still being finalized, Holland America Line said it continues to work with the Panamanian authorities for approval to transit the Panama Canal for sailing to Fort

On March 27, Holland America said 53 guests (4 percent) and 85 crew (14 percent) have reported to the Zaandam’s medical center with influenza-like symptoms. There are 1,243 guests and 586 crew on board. On Zaandam, there are four doctors and four nurses. On Rotterdam, there are two doctors and four nurses.

The passengers were ordered to self-isolate in their staterooms on March 22. The ship implemented other precautions developed with the CDC. All guests and crew received face masks and were provided with instructions on when and how to wear them.

The company statement described the deceased passengers as “older.” “Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and we are doing everything we can to support them during this difficult time,” the company said. Complimentary telephone counseling services are available to passengers and crew.

Zaandam was sailing a South America cruise that departed Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7 and was originally scheduled to end at San Antonio, Chile, on March 21. Due to global health concerns, Holland America Line made the decision to suspend its global cruise operations for 30 days and end its current cruises in progress as quickly as possible so guests could return home. No one has been off the ship since March 14 in Punta Arenas, Chile.

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