Dutch cruise ships with Covid-19 passengers docked in Florida

Cruise ships MS Zaandam and MS Rotterdam of the Holland America Line were allowed to dock in Fort Lauderdale in Florida, Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs said on Twitter. A number of passengers on MS Zaandam tested positive for coronavirus Covid-19.

Four passengers, including one Dutch, died of the disease. MS Rotterdam took some of the other ship's passengers so that the MS Zaandam crew has more room and time to care for the remaining ones. Both cruise ships sail under the Dutch flag.

When the Dutch passengers will be able to return home is not yet clear. "The health and repatriation of the passengers are our priority," Blok said. "Grateful for the strong cooperation with the US government and Holland America Line for making this possible."

Nine passengers were in such a bad condition when the ships were allowed to dock that they were immediately taken to a local hospital, according to NU.n. Another 45 sick passengers will remain on board MS Zaandam for the time being. This also applies to the crew members.