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Floridian passenger aboard Holland America ship: “We haven’t breathed fresh air in days”

Zaandam: 4 deaths, 2 confirmed coronavirus cases and 170 passengers with flu-like symptoms

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Holland America cruise line's Zaandam is on its way from the Panama Canal to Port Everglades.

More than 170 onboard are sick with flu-like symptoms and two have tested positive for COVID-19.

Four passengers died on the Zaandam during what was supposed to be a two-week cruise from Argentina to Chile.

Now, the Zaandam and its sister ship, the Rotterdam, are heading towards South Florida.

Laura Gabaroni, who grew up in South Florida and now lives in Central Florida, has been in isolation for days, inside her cabin aboard the Zaandam.

She and her husband boarded the ship in Argentina back on March 7.

"We don’t know where we’re going or when we’re going to get there," she said. "There's nothing we can do about it."

She said there aren’t enough testing kits, and those showing symptoms are the only ones getting tested.

"We're locked in our room, we can't go outside," she said. "We haven't breathed fresh air in days."

Once the ships arrive in South Florida, it's unclear whether they will be allowed to dock.

Speaking Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made it clear that he didn’t want the ships docking at Port Everglades.

“We think it’s a mistake to be putting people into southern Florida right now, given what we’re dealing with, so we would like to have medical personnel simply dispatched to that ship and the cruise lines can hopefully arrange for that, tend to folks who may need the medical attention. But I think a lot of these are foreign nationals, and we want to make sure we have the beds available for the folks here in southern Florida,” DeSantis said at a news conference outside Hard Rock Stadium.


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