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Feds working with Florida on plan for quarantined cruise ship passengers

Feds working with Florida on plan for quarantined cruise ship passengers

The federal government is working with the Florida government on a plan to mitigate the situation of the thousands of quarantined cruise ship passengers aboard the two Dutch cruise ships.

Broward County Mayor Dale Holness told MSNBC that Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is being run by a “unified command” of federal and state officials determining what to do.

“As it stands today, they’re going back and forth, working on a plan to ensure that we’re safeguarding the people of Broward County from further spread of this virus, but also seeing how we can find a way to deal with these folks” in a humanitarian manner, Holness said on MSNBC.

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One of the Dutch ships, the Zaandam, has recorded four deaths, nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 180 people reporting flu-like symptoms. Two of the deaths were confirmed to be caused by coronavirus.

The Zaandam transferred almost two-thirds of its passengers to another ship, the Rotterdam, after they passed a medical screening. Both ships are heading to Port Everglades.

The Zaandam is carrying 1,050 people, while the Rotterdam is carrying 1,450.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told CNN he was open to the idea of the ships docking in the city but emphasized that certain protocol needed to be followed. 

“We have to be comfortable knowing that they are being quarantined in such a way that they do not infect the rest of the community,” Trantalis said.

The federal and state partnership comes a day after President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged MORE encouraged Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisGolden statue of Trump at CPAC ridiculed online DeSantis derides 'failed Republican establishment' at CPAC Watch live: Day 1 at CPAC MORE (R) to allow the ships to dock.

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DeSantis has been reluctant to let cruise ships disembark in his state, saying it “doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

The Coast Guard instructed cruise ships to treat the infected onboard and refrain from docking “indefinitely” in regulations signed Sunday.  

The Florida governor issued a stay-at-home order for the state Wednesday after increasing pressure, as at latest 30 other states have made these orders. 

Florida ranks eighth in the U.S. with the most new cases reported in the last 24 hours, analyst Michael Newshel of investment bank Evercore ISI said, according to Reuters. The state has counted 6,955 cases and 89 deaths.

Nationwide, the U.S. surpassed 200,000 cases on Wednesday and has counted 4,476 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.