4 dead on cruise ship stranded near Panama, 247 Canadians also on board

Four people have died on a Holland America Line cruise ship stranded near Panama after the cruise line reported dozens of passengers and crew experiencing flu-like symptoms.

One day earlier, the cruise line said it tested “a number” of people for COVID-19. Two tested positive.

There are 247 Canadian citizens on board, a spokesperson confirmed to Global News.

“Holland America Line can confirm that four older guests have passed away on Zaandam,” a statement from the company Friday reads. “Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and we are doing everything we can to support them during this difficult time.”

There was no information provided on the exact cause of death.

The ship has been at sea since March 14, after Chile refused it permission to dock and disembark passengers as much of the world grapples with containing the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

The ship, the Zaandam, set out on March 7 from Buenos Aires with 1,243 guests and 586 crew. It was due to finish in San Antonio, Chile on March 21.

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Guests were placed under lockdown in their staterooms on March 22 after a number of guests and crew members came down with flu-like symptoms.

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