John Carter, 75, died Sunday, March 22, of a sudden illness on board the cruise liner Zaandam. His widow, 74, spent more than a week in isolation in his cabin suffering from coronavirus symptoms, said his niece, Nicola Brown.
Several Latin American countries have refused to allow the Zaandam and its sister ship, the Rotterdam, to enter the port. They crossed the Panama Canal on Monday and the two are heading for Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in an attempt to moor. It is not yet known whether local authorities will allow them to enter Everglades harbor.
Ron DeSantis, the Governor of Florida, said that the passengers, many of whom are elderly, could not be "dropped" in his condition, dismissing them as primarily "foreigners". Trump said on Tuesday he would speak to DeSantis about authorizing cruise ships in the port, but despite the President’s promised intervention, no local authorization has yet been granted.
Brown called on local officials in Broward County, southeast Florida, to let Zaandam and Rotterdam enter the port. She said that her aunt was stuck in a room with her husband's belongings and that she desperately wanted to get off the ship.
She told the Guardian, “It was horrible. As soon as this happened, they had to isolate themselves. She is obviously isolated in a room with all of her husband's objects. She is not feeling well herself, she has symptoms - a really severe cough. I just talked to her and she coughs. She is completely isolated in mourning my uncle. She only has one channel on TV - the news. "
NHS midwife Brown said she did not know if her uncle, a businessman, had tested positive for Covid-19, but he was on a ventilator before he died. Three other people died on Zaandam, while nine tested positive for Covid-19 and dozens more have flu-like symptoms.
Brown said his uncle felt well on the Friday before he died, but quickly deteriorated after visiting the cruise liner's medical center on Saturday.
Calling local officials and Trump, Brown said, "These are people. These are people who are not well and who need to go home. It’s the most inhuman thing. I am desperately sorry for the crew. I have the impression that the crew is ignored and that everything revolves around the passengers. They are human beings and they need help, whatever their nationality.
"We have to allow them to moor. They cannot just leave seriously ill people at sea. They tried to put a plan in place, but they must first let the ship dock. You cannot just leave people at sea with nothing. More people will die. "
Local officials on Tuesday said they were awaiting another plan from the ship operator, Holland America Line, which met a series of 12 conditions, but warned that ships would not be allowed to enter the port. they did not respect them.