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42 people with flu-like symptoms on HAL Zaandam ship

By ,   March 23, 2020 ,   Accidents

Passengers aboard the Holland America Line cruise ship, ms Zaandam, have been asked to remain in their staterooms after several crew members and passengers began exhibiting "flu-like symptoms."

Holland America said in a statement that this morning aboard ms Zaandam, 13 passengers and 29 crew members had reported to the medical center of the ship with influenza-like symptoms.  Out of an abundance of caution, they had asked all passengers to remain in their staterooms.

Previously, Chile had blocked the vessel, which has 1,243 passengers and 586 crew onboard, from allowing its guests to disembark over Coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns, leaving the vessel uncertain about its route. The cruise was scheduled to last 2 weeks, embarking from Buenos Aires on March 7 and set to end in San Antonio this past Saturday. The plans were diverted due to the pandemic, and the ship rerouted the course to sail north to an undetermined destination.

However now, just a day after the cruise ship was scheduled to dock in San Antonio, travellers are reporting an outbreak of sickness onboard. 

A Holland America Line representative confirmed that guests had been asked "to remain in their staterooms and monitor their health." In case they become symptomatic, they were asked to call the medical center for evaluation and care from the medical professionals onboard (at no charge). Meal service will be provided by room service until further notice. Public areas are closed.

The quarantine will apply to all crew members "who are not required for the safe operation of the ship." All cruise staffers will be asked to practice self-isolation and social distancing.

ms Zaandam cruise ship

Previously, the cruise company said in a statement that ms Zaandam was not in quarantine and there were no suspected or known COVID-19 cases onboard. The passengers and crew who are exhibiting flu-like symptoms have not yet received a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Now that passengers and crew on ms Zaandam have been struck with the as-of-yet-unknown illness, it's unclear what the next course of action of the ship will be. On Saturday, passengers cheered an announcement by the captain that the crew hoped to sail through the Panama Canal and then to Fort Lauderdale FL.

Holland America advised people with relatives onboard the cruise ship to call 1-877-425-2231 and 1-206-626-7398 for information.

For other MS Zaandam accidents and incidents see at the ship's CruiseMinus page.

For Coronavirus updates on cruise ship quarantines (infected passengers and crew) and top-pandemic countries (COVID-19 cases and deaths, daily updated statistics) see at CruiseMapper's Norovirus page.