- A Broward County officer went to Twitter to announce that Florida officials had entered into an agreement with Carnival Corp. had hit, after which two stranded Holland America ships were allowed to moor in Port Everglades at Fort Lauderdale.
- Four passengers died on the Zaandam after an outbreak of respiratory disease made at least 233 people sick.
- Nine passengers have so far tested positive for COVID-19.
- Florida officials were concerned that boarding MS Zaandam and MS Rotterdam passengers at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale could aggravate the spread of the corona virus in the region.
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In Florida's Broward County, two stranded and affected cruise ships can dock in Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades.
Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine tweeted on April 2 that the Unified Command Task Force and Carnival Corp. have reached agreement on an action plan.
– Michael Udine (@Michaeludine) April 2, 2020
The Unified Command team consisted of representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Broward County Sheriff's Office, Disease Control and Prevention Centers, the Florida Department of Health, the U.S. Customs and Border Service, port pilots and other officials.
At a meeting of the Broward County Commission on March 31, U.S. Coast Guard commander Miami Commander Captain Jo-Ann Burdian said that Zaandam and Rotterdam should not enter U.S. waters until the parent company of Holland America, Carnival Corp., has submitted a complete medical plan regarding the situation on each ship.
The Zaandam cruise was to last 14 days and start on March 7th from Buenos Aires. For some passengers, the cruise would end in San Antonio, Chile, after 14 days. For others, it should reach April 7th in Fort Lauderdale. These plans were redirected because of the corona virus, and the cruise ship was banned from ports in South and Central America.
The Rotterdam was dispatched to rescue healthy passengers from the Zaandam before both ships were allowed to cross the Panama Canal.
According to a April 1 statement by Holland America, 45 passengers on board the ships still have "mild" symptoms. In the statement, the cruise line said there were 808 guests and 583 crew members on the Rotterdam. and 442 guests and 603 crew members on the Zaandam.
Read the full April 1 statement from Holland America:
Holland America Line is waiting for confirmation to disembark guests from Zaandam and Rotterdam in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We continue to work closely with the Broward Unified Command and other government and embassy agencies to resolve this humanitarian situation and immediately bring the nearly 1,200 well-seated guests home, in accordance with the guidelines of the United States Centers for Control and Prevention of diseases (CDC) are fit to travel. Both ships are due to arrive at the U.S. waters border tomorrow morning and remain outside of the U.S. waters until released.
Guests who are eligible for travel under the CDC will switch directly from the ship to flights for onward travel, most of them on charter flights. Out of caution, these guests are transported in sanitary buses that have limited personal contact and wear masks. These regulations go far beyond what the CDC recommended for their trip. Guests have not left the ship since March 14 and have been isolated in their cabins since March 22.
The approximately 45 guests who are still slightly ill and are not able to travel at this time will continue to be isolated on board until their recovery. Disembarkation would be scheduled at a later date and only after they have recovered and are compliant with the CDC's travel suitability guidelines.
For the estimated fewer than ten people who need immediate intensive care on land, we have received approval from a local health care partner to accept them for treatment. This small number is the only group that needs medical resource support in Broward County and is needed to prevent further harm to health.
Since March 22nd, 97 guests (83 on Zaandam / 14 on Rotterdam) and 136 crew members on Zaandam (0 on Rotterdam) have flu-like symptoms. We have seen a significant drop in the number of new cases presented on Zaandam, with only 1 new case reported in the past 24 hours.
There are 808 guests and 583 crew members on Rotterdam. There are 442 guests and 603 crew members on Zaandam.
Holland America Line requires compassion and sanity in the review and approval of our disembarkation plan by Florida officials, and we are grateful to those who have supported our efforts.
We appreciate President Trump's support in solving the humanitarian plight of our guests, 311 of whom are American citizens and 52 residents of Florida. There are also four children under 12 on board.
For global health reasons, Holland America Line has decided to discontinue global cruise operations for 30 days and end ongoing cruises as soon as possible. At that time, Zaandam was sailing a South America cruise that started in Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 7 and was originally scheduled to end in San Antonio, Chile on March 21. Attempts have been made and refused to disembark guests in Chile in March 15 and in other ports along its route to the United States
On March 21, Zaandam was originally scheduled to begin a 20-day cruise to South America and the Panama Canal from San Antonio, Chile, and end at Fort Lauderdale on April 7. An additional 30-day cruise cancellation extension was announced on March 30. including departures until May 14th.