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Holland America Sending COVID-19 Test Kits to Ship Unable to Dock

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Holland America Line is sending another cruise ship with supplies and COVID-19 test kits to meet the Zaandam, which has been turned away from several countries due to coronavirus fears. No one has been off the ship since March 14 in Punta Arenas, Chile.

As all ports along Zaandam’s route are closed to cruise ships, the Rotterdam will rendezvous with Zaandam to provide extra supplies, staff, COVID-19 test kits and other support as needed. Carrying 611 crew and no guests, Rotterdam departed Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on March 22.

The current schedule is for the two ships to meet by the evening of March 26 off the coast of Panama, Holland America said in a blog post on March 24.

The company plans to head to Fort Lauderdale for arrival on March 30, although that plan is still being finalized while other options also are being studied. Port Everglades said it was monitoring the situation. “Any decision by Broward County on whether to allow the ship to enter Port Everglades will be determined as more information is available in consultation” with federal and local health authorities. No one has been off the ship since March 14 in Punta Arenas, Chile.

On March 22, the Zaandam asked all passengers to remain in their staterooms as 13 guests and 29 crew members reported to the ship’s medical center with influenza-like symptoms. (The Miami Herald reported the number had risen to 77 by March 24.) It was unknown if they were suffering from COVID-19 since the ship had no test kits. There are 1,243 guests and 586 crew on board.

Zaandam was sailing a South America voyage that departed Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7 and was originally scheduled to end in San Antonio, Chile, on March 21.

However, due to global health concerns, Holland America suspended its global cruise operations for 30 days on March 13. Despite previous confirmations that guests could disembark in Punta Arenas for flights, the ship was not permitted to do so.

Zaandam then sailed to Valparaiso, Chile, where it remained at anchor March 20-21 while taking on provisions and fuel, including regular medications for those that needed them. Zaandam departed Valparaiso on March 21 and is currently sailing north.

Internet and guest stateroom telephone services remain complimentary, Holland America also is offering guests and crew complimentary telephone counseling from its care partner, Empathia.

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Cruises

Coral Princess Docks in Miami with Two Dead, Others Ill

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Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess has finally docked in Miami after having been denied permission to disembark its passengers at ports in multiple countries, although no one aboard had actually tested positive for COVID-19 until this week. Onboard medical staff noticed a higher-than-usual number of ship’s occupants coming down with flu-like over a week ago and, starting March 30, guests were asked to stay in their rooms.

CNN reported that the ship arrives with two dead and several others sick with the novel coronavirus. While it’s unclear exactly how many of Coral Princess’ 1,000-plus passengers and 878 crew will be cleared to disembark in Miami, Miami Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez told CNN that the most seriously ill will be transported off the ship first, bound for local hospitals. Two guests, in particular, who require immediate medical attention were to be taken to Miami’s Larkin Community Hospital, said the mayor.

Gimenez also explained that about fifteen coronavirus-positive passengers who don’t need immediate hospitalization will remain aboard to receive care in the ship’s medical ward until they are cleared the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

Reportedly, those passengers who are deemed fit to fly home will begin disembarking tomorrow, although the process, Princess Cruises said, “is expected to take several days, due to limited flight availability,” Mayor Gimenez disclosed that over 990 passengers and 840 crew members have thus far been deemed fit for travel.

The Coral Princess was about halfway through its itinerary when, on March 12, Princess Cruises announced that it would end underway voyages as soon as possible as worldwide concern grew regarding the spread of COVID-19. The cruise, which departed from Chile on March 5 and was scheduled to finish March 19 in Argentina, lasted more than two weeks longer than originally planned.

The vessel tried to disembark on March 19 in Buenos Aires as originally scheduled, as many passengers had air travel booked home from that point. When it did dock, the government would only allow Argentine passport holders and others who had confirmed same-day flights off the ship. The Argentine government warned that, if the Coral Princess did not cast off again that same night, it would be required to remain there indefinitely with no passengers disembarking.

The Coral Princess afterward appealed to authorities in Uruguay, where it was able to resupply, and in Brazil, but was denied disembarkation by both. Heading towards Florida, the ship picked up supplies once more in Barbados before finally finding safe harbor in Miami.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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