It seems that every cruise ship currently sailing the world’s seas may come under scrutiny when looking for a port. Over the past several weeks we have been blogging about the many ships that have had their itineraries modified and due to countries’ refusing to allow them entry on fears that they may be carrying sick passengers.
CNN.com reports that the Holland America ship Zaandam is heading to Florida with 13 sick passengers and 29 crew sick members on board, after being denied port by Chile and having its itinerary completely scrapped. Authorities have not indicated whether the passengers are sick with the flu or with a more insidious virus such as COVID-19.
“Since it is flu season, and COVID-19 testing is not available on board, it is difficult to determine the cause of these elevated cases at this time,” Holland America said in a statement.
The company is taking precautions and treating the situation as if the sick passengers and crew members could be ill with coronavirus. The CNN report says that ship officials have asked the vessel’s 1,243 passengers to stay in their cabin rooms as a precaution.
Ship officials have also quarantined the ship’s crew members that are not essential for the vessel’s operation. Others are confined to self-isolation during non-work hours.
Passengers have been aboard the Zaandam since March 14, unable to disembark due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and the company’s suspension of cruising operations.
The Zaandam is set to arrive at Florida on March 30.