MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Late on Saturday evening, Holland America’s Zaandam was given permission to pass through the Panama Canal and continue on its way to Florida, after being denied passage a day earlier.
Canal authorities made the announcement through the following tweet:
The Panama Canal has released the following update on the status of Holland America’s Zaandam: pic.twitter.com/DlRBb3tjCS
— The Panama Canal (@thepanamacanal) March 29, 2020
Holland America, owned by the Miami-based Carnival Corporation, will not reveal whether or not four “older guests” who died on the cruise ship Zaandam passed away from COVID-19, citing HIPPA privacy regulations. It’s also not known when exactly the guests died.
The ship does have two individuals who tested positive for coronavirus the cruise line said in a Friday news release.
As of Friday, 138 people — 53 guests and 85 crew members — had reported flu-like symptoms, Holland America said in its statement. There are 1,243 guests and 586 crew members on board the ship.
Three hundred and five of those passengers are U.S. citizens and some are from Broward County.
Healthy passengers were being transferred to its sister ship the Rotterdam on Friday, following CDC protocols, while sick passengers were staying inside their rooms on the Zaandam. The Rotterdam also transferred medical supplies and medical personnel to the Zaandam.
The Zaandam departed Buenos Aires on March 7 and was originally scheduled to end its cruise at San Antonio, Chile, on March 21. The cruise line decided to end its current cruises in progress.
No one has been off the ship since March 14 in Punta Arenas, Chile, the cruise line said. The Zaandam is not the only cruise ship in limbo because of the coronavirus. Cruise Lines International Association said at least 14 ocean-going ships worldwide are completing journeys or awaiting disembarkation. For those with family members on board, they can call the following numbers for information: 1-877-425-2231 or 1-206-626-7398.