Florida threatens to deny Coral Princess entry
A cruise ship with 22 Bermudians on board has confirmed passengers have come down with Covid-19.
The Bermudian-registered Coral Princess was scheduled to arrive tomorrow in Fort Lauderdale, owners Princess Cruises said last night, but it was unclear if passengers would be allowed to disembark.
Captain Todd McBain told passengers yesterday the crew were in talks with US with health officials.
Princess Cruises said earlier that passengers had been told to stay in their cabins after the ship's sick bay reported a “higher-than-normal” number of passengers with flu-like symptoms.
The Washington Post later reported that 12 people on the ship had tested positive for the coronavirus.
There were at first 34 Bermudians on the Coral Princess, but 12 managed to catch a flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and travelled to the airport in a bus escorted by police after the ship was given permission to dock by Argentine authorities.
The rest missed a later flight because of a delay in the return of the bus to the ship and were stranded on board. An unsuccessful attempt to disembark passengers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was also made.
The ship, which still has 1,024 passengers on board, visited Bridgetown, Barbados, on Tuesday.
No one was allowed ashore, but samples were sent for testing while the vessel was in port.
Two other vessels — Holland America Lines' Zaandam and Rotterdam — with Covid-19 cases on board also asked to dock in Fort Lauderdale this week.
Ron DeSantis, the Governor of Florida, said he did not want people from the Zaandam “dumped into South Florida”, but that he would take people from the state.
Mr DeSantis said: “We wouldn't want those valuable beds to be taken because of the cruise ship.”
Barbara Charief, the Broward County commissioner, said yesterday a conditional agreement between Holland America and Florida authorities would allow healthy passengers to go home while the sick remained on board for treatment.
Holland America said on Wednesday that it had organised a Florida hospital to treat passengers who needed immediate critical care.