Flu-like cases spike on stranded cruise ship carrying 247 Canadian passengers

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Flu-like cases spike on stranded cruise ship carrying 247 Canadian passengers
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The variety of passengers and crew exhibiting flu-like signs aboard a Holland America Line cruise ship travelling round South America has spiked by greater than 80 per cent — from 42 to 77 circumstances — in simply two days.

A complete of 247 Canadians are among the many 1,243 passengers on the Zaandam, which additionally has 586 crew members.

On Tuesday, Holland America stated in an announcement that 30 passengers and 47 crew members are actually sick. It comes after the corporate first reported 42 “influenza-like” circumstances on Sunday amongst passengers and crew.

The Zaandam had initially deliberate to dock 10 days in the past in Punta Arenas, Chile to permit passengers to fly dwelling amid the rising COVID-19 pandemic. However the nation refused to permit anybody to disembark, and the ship is at the moment crusing off the coast of Peru with no confirmed docking plans.

The spike in reported diseases is heightening worries for Tanya Williams, of Waterloo, Ont., whose 72-year-old father John is on the ship. She believes that speedy unfold might be an indication of a possible COVID-19 outbreak on board.

“I am very involved,” stated Williams. “I really need him to return dwelling.”

She stated her father instructed her a number of days in the past that he had developed a cough and a sore throat.

Anna and Chris Joiner are proven on board the Zaandam, which is at the moment stranded at sea in South America however making an attempt to make its approach again to Florida. (Submitted by Chris Joiner)

It’s at the moment unclear whether or not the sick people on the Zaandam have COVID-19, the sickness attributable to the novel coronavirus which has shortly unfold on a number of different cruise ships. The Zaandam has no COVID-19 take a look at kits on board.

However Holland America stated Tuesday that one other firm ship is en route to ship additional provides, employees and take a look at kits to the Zaandam. The ships are set to fulfill up on Thursday, off the coast of Panama.

Holland America stated the sick people on board have been quarantined and that the remainder of the passengers and non-essential crew have been requested to stay of their cabins.

“Meals will get delivered to our cabins, kind of a hodgepodge of issues,” stated Canadian passenger Chris Joiner, who has confined himself to his cabin along with his spouse, Anna. “We’re preserving our spirits excessive and staying busy.”

A warning

The South American cruise departed Buenos Aires on March 7 and was initially scheduled to finish in San Antonio, Chile on March 21. However the voyage was reduce quick on March 14 on account of issues over the worldwide unfold of COVID-19.

The Zaandam is now returning north, with plans to dock in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on March 30. 

Nevertheless, Holland America says it has but to safe permission to cross by way of the Panama Canal after the nation closed its borders to foreigners on March 16. 

“Different choices are also being developed,” the corporate stated in its assertion. 

A day earlier than Holland America introduced there have been unwell folks on board, Williams despatched an electronic mail to the corporate to inform it of her father’s signs and to warn the cruise line to take the prospect of a COVID-19 outbreak severely. She stated she has but to obtain a reply. 

“I needed them to know that there was concern and that they have been accountable,” stated Williams. “I additionally needed to know what they have been doing about it. What’s their plan if there’s an outbreak on the ship?” 

Holland America additionally did not reply to a request for remark from CBC Information.

The Zaandam reduce its voyage quick on March 14 however its passengers have not been permitted to disembark at ports in South America. (Holland America Line)

Now that there’s a yet-to-be-diagnosed sickness spreading on the ship, Williams stated she hopes the cruise line will search assist from the Canadian authorities.

World Affairs Canada instructed CBC Information that the federal authorities is working intently with Holland America to make sure the protected return of Canadian passengers.

“We’re doing all the pieces to supply help underneath these unprecedented circumstances,” spokesperson Krystyna Dodds stated in an electronic mail.

One other COVID-19-hit Princess ship

Elsewhere, the coronavirus pandemic is taking its toll on different cruise ships. 

On Tuesday, an Australian lady in her 70s died after falling unwell from COVID-19 whereas aboard a cruise on the Ruby Princess, which docked in Sydney on March 19, well being officers in New South Wales stated in an announcement.

Greater than 130 others who have been on the ship have now additionally examined optimistic, stated NSW Well being, including that no circumstances of COVID-19 had been recognized by medical doctors on board earlier than folks disembarked.

The ship and its 2,700 passengers had set sail for a New Zealand cruise on March 8.

The Ruby Princess is the third Princess cruise ship to expertise a coronavirus outbreak. 

Earlier this month, 19 crew members and two passengers examined optimistic for COVID-19 on the Grand Princess, earlier than it ended its journey in northern California.  And in February, greater than 700 folks aboard the Diamond Princess in Japan contracted the virus. Six have since died.

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