The American shipping company Holland America reported on Friday that four elderly passengers died on the Zandaam cruise ship, which is in Panama waters with 138 people with flu symptoms on board, of which two tested positive for COVID-19.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and we are doing everything we can to support them during this difficult time,” the company said in a statement.
The company said there are 53 passengers and 85 crew members with flu-like symptoms, out of a total of 1,243 passengers and 586 crew members.
Yesterday, Thursday, those who feel unwell were tested for coronaviruses and two tested positive, according to a company statement.
Panamanian authorities authorized the cruise to be supplied by another Holland ship in Panama waters, a country that is prohibited from disembarking cruise ships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ship left Buenos Aires on March 7 and sails through the Pacific towards Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) with all passengers isolated.
The Panama Maritime Authority reported on Thursday that the cruise was scheduled to arrive in national waters today and that it had requested authorization to receive support from another ship, Rotterdam.
Since all ports along its route are closed to cruise ships, Rotterdam was deployed to reach Zaandam and provide evidence of COVID-19, additional supplies and other support, Holland America reported.
The Carnival group company has said it is confident that the Zandaam will arrive in Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, on March 30.
Panama has suspended the entry of foreigners to the country as well as international flights, while nationals who manage to return must compulsorily undergo a 14-day quarantine.