A cruise ship with 77 people experiencing flu-like symptoms is headed to Florida


 A cruise ship with 77 sick people aboard is heading to Florida and is expected to dock next week.

At least 30 guests and 47 crew aboard Holland America’s Zaandam ship have reported experiencing flu-like symptoms, the cruise line said in a statement.

All 1,243 guests have been asked to stay in their rooms as the ship sails to Fort Lauderdale, where it is expected to dock Monday.

“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,” the release says.

All ports along the Zaandam’s route are closed to cruise ships. Holland America deployed a second ship — Rotterdam — with extra supplies, staff, COVID-19 test kits and other support as needed to meet the Zandaam on Thursday night.

Zaandam departed Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7, prior to Holland America’s March 17 decision to suspend its global cruise operations for 30 days. The voyage was scheduled to end in San Antonio, Chile, on March 21. No one has been off the ship since March 14 in Punta Arenas, Chile, where guests were initially told they could disembark for flights but were not permitted to.

The ship was at anchor for several days in Valparaiso, Chile, while it took on more provisions and fuel before departing for Fort Lauderdale.

No testing for coronavirus is available on the ship, according to the statement.

“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.

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