Conditional approval reached for cruise ships to dock in Florida

Author: Denise Royal, Sara Weisfeldt and Rosa Flores, CNN
Published: Updated:
The Zaandam cruise ship enters the Panama City Bay to be assisted by the Rotterdam cruise ship with supplies, personnel and COVID-19 testing devices, at 8 milles from Panama City, on March 27, 2020. (LUIS ACOSTA/AFP via Getty Images)

Conditional approval has been reached to allow the Zaandam and Rotterdam ships to dock in Port Everglades in Florida.

The agreement includes a plan for passengers to go home. Final approval of the plan is expected to happen this morning, according to Broward County Commissioner Dr. Barbara Sharief.

The ships are in sight of Port Everglades and the passengers are due to disembark at 1 p.m. ET, per Sharief.

According to the five-page conditional agreement, passengers who are healthy will be allowed to go home and passengers who are sick will remain on the ship to continue treatment. At this time, no one on board is in need of a hospital bed, Sharief said — but if a passenger needs a hospital bed, Broward Health has indicated capacity will not be an issue.

The healthy people will be transported by a private bus from Port Everglades to airports, which could include the Fort Lauderdale and Miami airports. They will go directly to their chartered flights, and they will not linger at the airport to avoid possible community spread.

Sharief says that after passengers began exhibiting flu-like symptoms, the ship received 200 rapid blood test kits to test for Covid-19. Eleven guests were tested and nine people tested positive for the coronavirus. Four men over the age of 70 — two of whom who had been diagnosed with coronavirus — died. One had a heart attack and the other had a pre-existing illness.

About the passengers: There are 311 US citizen passengers on board, representing 46 states, including 52 Floridians. The 26 Broward County residents on board have been in isolation for 14 days, and they have agreed to isolate for another 14 days at home.

The passengers on the ships are from the US, Canada, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Sweden, Mexico, Ireland, Switzerland, among others.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.