Cruise ships with Covid-19 passengers go through Panama Canal
30 de marzo de 2020, 10:19
Panama, Mar 30 (Prensa Latina) The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) reported that the Zaandam and Rotterdam cruise ships began maneuvers to transit the Panama Canal, with passengers infected and suspected with the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, on board.
This crossing is made 'under special and humanitarian conditions, after receiving the authorization by the Ministry of Health (MINSA),' the text said. The operation began after the transfer of passengers from Zaandam to Rotterdam liner, the latter sent in aid from Puerto Vallarta, in Mexico.
The ACP clarified that in order to attend these transits, it will take biosecurity and operational measures 'in order to minimize the risks for the Panama Canal staff and its clients, as well as guaranteeing a safe maneuver.'
Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line, owner of the ships, sent a video message where he explained to the people on board that the separation of passengers between the two cruise ships was so everyone has the possibility of having staterooms with balconies at sea and receive the marine air and the possibility of the landscape during the isolation.
Ashford denied that the intention was to move the asymptomatic or healthy passengers to Rotterdam, as said, but those who occupied the interior rooms on Zaandam were moved and those who could move more easily for the transfer were also taken into account.
According to the Panama Maritime Authority, the company informed that of 1,829 people onboard Zaandam, 53 passengers and 85 crew members had flu-like symptoms, but only two passengers were tested positive for the novel coronavirus. In addition, four people died without explaining the causes.
Zaandam set sail on March 7 from the Buenos Aires port, in Argentina, and was originally scheduled to end in San Antonio, Chile, on March 21, but the closure of borders interrupted the itinerary. When the cruise ship tried to return that nation, it was prevented docking, so it set sail for the Panama Canal to reach Fort Lauderdale, in Florida, the United States. ef/iff/mem/orm
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