MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) — A Holland America cruise ship with 42 sick people aboard is heading to South Florida and is expected to dock next week, but it’s not known yet whether the sick people actually have coronavirus.
There are 13 guests and 29 crew members aboard Holland America’s Zaandam who are experiencing flu-like symptoms, a statement from the cruise line said.
Initially, the ship was granted permission to disembark in Punta Arenas, Chile, but it was later rescinded. No testing for coronavirus is available on the ship, according to the statement.
“Since it is flu season, and COVID-19 testing is not available onboard, it is difficult to determine the cause of these elevated cases at this time,” the statement said.
All 1,243 guests have been asked to stay in their staterooms as the ship sails to Fort Lauderdale. It is expected to dock March 30.
“The safety and well-being of our guests and crew is one of our highest priorities,” the statement said.
There are 586 crew members on board. Those not required to operate the ship are in quarantine while those who are needed to maintain operations are self-isolating when not working.
Those who are experiencing symptoms have been isolated and their close contacts are in quarantine, according to the statement.
The Zaandam left Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 7 and was scheduled to end in San Antonio, Chile, on March 21. The ship departed prior to the cruise line’s March 17 decision to suspend all operations globally for 30 days.
No one has been off of the ship since March 14 in Punta Arenas when guests were told they could disembark for flights but then were later prohibited from leaving, the statement from Holland America said.
The ship was at anchor for several days in Valparaiso, Chile, while it took on more provisions and fuel before departing for Fort Lauderdale.
However, the ship is still trying to secure permission to enter the Panama Canal and looking into different options should that permission be denied.
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