US President Donald Trump has called on Florida authorities on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday to admit the Holland America Line (HAL) cruise ship MS Zaandam. On the ship, several people were found to be infected with the corona virus last week. Since then, the ship, sailing under the Dutch flag, has been looking for a destination.

Trump enters into talks with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis about admitting the cruise ship. "The passengers are dying on the ship," said Trump. "I do the right thing, not just for us, but for humanity."

Four passengers died last week, including one Dutchman. HAL director Orlando Ashford says in the local South Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper that he fears more passengers will die. There were a total of twenty Dutch people on board the ship.

The cruise ship is supposed to dock in Chile, but was refused due to the contamination. Some of the passengers have now been transferred to another cruise ship, so that MS Zaandam has more space and time for the medical care of the remaining passengers. Both ships are en route to the port of the city of Fort Lauderdale in the US state of Florida.

Florida will not allow ship

However, the governor of that state, Ron DeSantis, has indicated that he wants to refuse the HAL cruise ship. According to him, the MS Zaandam wants to "dump" its sick passengers in Florida. Also, the mayor of the city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Dean Trantalis, said on Sunday that permission had not yet been granted for mooring the ship. He called the arrival of the ship "unacceptable".

The cruise ship carried 1,282 passengers. Dozens of passengers and crew have reported flu symptoms.

Follow the latest developments around the virus in our live blog.

The coronavirus in short

  • The coronavirus mainly spreads from person to person via sneezing and cough drops. The chance of becoming infected through surfaces such as door handles is small. This chance decreases if you wash your hands often.
  • You can considerably reduce the chance of spreading by keeping at least 1.5 meters away from others.
  • An infected person infects two to three others on average. Precautions are necessary to contain this.
  • The vast majority of patients have mild (flu-like) complaints.
  • Almost all deaths involve the elderly or other vulnerable persons, such as heart, lung or diabetes patients. If everyone complies with the measures, this reduces their risks.
  • Read here what precautions you should take.