Four die aboard coronavirus-stricken cruise ship off Panama

Four passengers have died aboard a cruise ship off the coast of Panama and at least two other people on board have tested positive for the coronavirus, a report said Friday.

At least 53 passengers and more than 80 crew members also reported suffering flu-like symptoms aboard Holland America’s “Zaandam” cruise ship, CNBC reported.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and we are doing everything we can to support them during this difficult time,” the company, which is owned by parent Carnival Corp., told USA Today in a statement.

The causes of death for the four people were not immediately known. Details about the passengers, including what country they are from, are also unclear. In a statement, the company only described them as “older guests,” CNBC reports.

There are more than 1,000 passengers on board the cruise ship, which departed Buenos Aires on March 7 and was scheduled to end its voyage in Chile on March 21. More than 300 Americans were on board the ship, according to USA Today.

The ship had no coronavirus tests on board until it connected with another cruise liner on Thursday night.

The two ships have been granted permission to remain off the coast of Panama, according to the report, but Zaandam is hoping to continue on to Florida.

“While the onward plan for both ships is still being finalized, we continue to work with the Panamanian authorities on approval to transit the Panama Canal for sailing to Fort Lauderdale, Florida,” the company said, according to USA Today.

One of Carnival Corp’s other ships, the Diamond Princess, had one of the largest clusters of COVID-19 cases outside of China, with more than 700 infected passengers and crew.

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