A cruise ship with a suspected coronavirus outbreak is making its way to Fort Lauderdale.
Four people have already died aboard Holland America’s Zaandam. The cruise ship has more than 1,800 passengers with two positive test results for the coronavirus and more than 50 others exhibiting symptoms.
The ship’s pending arrival at Port Everglades has raised concern for residents.
“We received info that cruise ship Zaandam can now pass through the Panama Canal and continue to FTL as scheduled. No assurances have been given that they will be escorted from the ship to either a treatment facility or placed in quarantine. This is completely unacceptable!,” tweeted Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis on Sunday.
Meanwhile, on his telephone town hall Sunday evening, U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22) said there is significant time to come up with a plan.
“You cannot tell the ship to stay at sea forever,” Deutch said.
Deutch said there has to be a way to thoughtfully and transparently execute a plan to protect the people of South Florida. He said testing all aboard the ship and immediately quarantining positive cases should be done before the ship docks to prevent further infections.
Officials with Carnival Corporation said no one has left the ship since its last docking, March 14, in Punta Arenas, Chile. The four deaths aboard the Zaandam were “older guests,” the company said in a statement.
Trantalis said the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Department of Homeland Security must create a plan to protect South Florida.
“There are many Navy bases on the Eastern seaboard where this ship could dock and be dealt with in a much more controlled environment,” Trantalis said, in a prepared statement.