Coronavirus cruise ship dies


(MIAMI) – A crew member who was hospitalized for days after two unfortunate cruise ships with coronavirus patients were finally cleared to dock in Florida has died, officials said.
Broward County medical examiner Craig Mallak confirmed the death of 50-year-old Indonesian Wiwit Widarto on Thursday. Widarto had tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the number of coronavirus-related deaths from the Zaandam vessel to four.
Holland man died Wednesday, six days after Zaandam and sister ship docked in Fort Lauderdale harbor after spending two weeks at sea rejected by South American ports, Holland America Line spokesperson said , Erik Elvejord. He was taken to a Florida hospital the same day the ship docked.
Four elderly passengers had already died before the cruise ships arrived, and the medical examiner said earlier this week that three of the men were positive for COVID-19. The fourth man died of a viral infection. Mallak said he had tested negative for the new virus but died 12 days before being tested.

About 1,200 passengers disembarked from the Zaandam and the sister ship Rotterdam, which was dispatched to supply the former with supplies and crew members who fell ill. The cruise line and federal and Florida officials negotiated for days before allowing the landing.
The cruise line says that 29 passengers who were kept on board because they were slightly ill were due to return home on charter flights Thursday, a week after arriving in Florida.
The Zaandam departed from Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7, a day before the United States Department of State advised against traveling on cruises and a week before most cruise lines stopped their crossings .

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Meanwhile, a dozen international guests will remain in quarantine aboard the Coral Princess, which docked last weekend in Miami with cases of coronavirus, according to a press release from Princess Cruises. Many former Coral Princess passengers left South Florida on five charter flights on Thursday, the company said. One flight was domestic while the others flew to South America and Europe.
Despite continued efforts through diplomatic channels, the company said current travel restrictions imposed by home countries prevent return trips from 13 international customers and that local authorities would not allow the use of hotels. local. Guests will stay with Coral Princess’s crew for approximately 14 days. The ship was scheduled to leave PortMiami on Thursday evening.
Two passengers died before the Coral Princess arrived in Miami and a third died later in hospital. It is not clear if the deaths were caused by COVID-19. The ship initially left Chile on March 5. The passengers were supposed to land in Argentina on March 19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday the extension of a “non-navigation order” for all cruise ships. Officials did not say when they expected the order to end.
“We are working with the cruise industry to improve the health and safety of crews at sea and the communities around the ports of entry for American cruise ships,” CDC director Robert Redfield said in a statement. . “The measures we are taking today to stop the spread of COVID-19 are necessary to protect Americans, and we will continue to provide public health advice that is essential to the industry to limit the impact of COVID-19 on its workforce.” during the rest of this period. pandemic. “

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