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Zaandam to Get COVID-19 Tests for Passengers With Flu Symptoms

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By The Maritime Executive 03-24-2020 05:19:20

In a statement released Tuesday, Holland America Line said that it was taking an unusual step to bring relief to the cruise ship Zaandam: it has dispatched another vessel, the Rotterdam, to meet up and transfer over supplies, personnel and COVID-19 test kits. 

Zaandam is currently under way from Chile to Florida with 77 individuals with flu-like symptoms on board. 47 of them are crewmembers, according to the Miami Herald. There are no coronavirus test kits on board and all ports along Zaandam's route are closed, so the Holland America ship Rotterdam will be transiting south from Puerto Vallarta to bring her the necessary supplies and staff for testing. The vessels will meet up off Panama on the evening of March 26. 

"Our intention is to proceed to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for arrival on March 30, however plans are still being finalized. Alternative options also are being developed," Holland America said in a statement. 

In addition to onboard entertainment and communications options, Holland America has made telephone counseling services available for passengers and crew aboard Zaandam. Both passengers and non-essential crew have been quarantined in their staterooms.

Zaandam was refused permission to disembark passengers in Punta Arenas on March 14 due to Chile's recently-enacted border closure. Her voyage was scheduled to end in San Antonio, Chile on March 21, but as she does not have permission to disembark at this port, she intends to head back to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.