Deal reached for cruise ships to dock in Florida amid coronavirus outbreak

Deal reached for cruise ships to dock in Florida amid coronavirus outbreak

Two cruise ships off the coast of Florida carrying more than 200 passengers exhibiting flu-like symptoms, some of whom have tested positive for the coronavirus, will be permitted to dock in Florida's Port of Everglades on Thursday, according to CNN.

The update follows previous orders from the Coast Guard for the Zaandam and Rotterdam cruise ships to remain offshore "indefinitely," according to a safety bulletin issued Sunday.

An agreement between the cruise line Holland America and local authorities was established Thursday to allow healthy passengers to return to their homes while sick passengers remain on board for treatment, according to Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief.

ADVERTISEMENT

The deal was made among the Coast Guard, Homeland Security, state and federal health officials and Broward County just hours after Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisFlorida Democratic official suspends concealed carry permits for 22 people tied to Capitol riot Trump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios DeSantis takes action against Ben & Jerry's for ending sales in Israeli-occupied areas MORE (R) said he was willing to accept Floridians on board the ships.

Dean Trantalis, mayor of Fort Lauderdale, said Holland America agreed to strict protocols from the county to allow the cruise ships to dock.

"Given the county's decision to allow the ships here, I believe these regulations present a humanitarian solution for those on board while providing strong safeguards for our community," the mayor said.

The Zaandam was en route to South America when nine passengers tested positive for COVID-19; four men aboard the ship later died — two had been diagnosed with the coronavirus, one suffered a heart attack and one succumbed to an earlier illness.

Holland America transferred healthy Zaandam guests to the Rotterdam, where there have been no reported cases of the virus.

Nobody on either cruise ship requires hospital beds at this time, but local beds will be provided in the event of any changes, Sharief said.