Four passengers die on stranded Dutch cruise ship

March 28, 2020

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PANAMA CITY: A cruise ship enters the Panama City bay on Friday after the Panamanian government allowed it to do so as a large number of passengers showed flu symptoms.—AFP
PANAMA CITY: A cruise ship enters the Panama City bay on Friday after the Panamanian government allowed it to do so as a large number of passengers showed flu symptoms.—AFP

PANAMA CITY: Four passengers have died aboard a cruise ship carrying scores of people with flu-like symptoms that has been stranded off the Pacific coast of South America for several days, the liner company said on Friday.

The Zaandam, with 1,800 passengers on board, is currently in Panama’s territorial waters, having been prevented from docking in several countries due to coronavirus fears.

“Holland America Line can confirm that four older guests have passed away on Zaandam,” the Dutch-owned company said in a statement.

“Yesterday a number of patients with respiratory symptoms were tested for Covid-19 and two individuals tested positive.” The Zaandam liner left Buenos Aires on March 7 and was supposed to arrive last Saturday at San Antonio, near Santiago in Chile.

Since a brief stop in Punta Arenas in Chilean Patagonia on March 14, it was turned away from several ports after reporting that 42 people aboard were suffering from flu-like symptoms.

It is trying to head to Florida, but to get there, it must pass through the Panama Canal. On Friday, authorities denied the ship access to the waterway.

Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2020