Panamanians who attended Holland America Line’s Zaandam and Rotterdam cruises gave a negative rating to the Covid-19, according to Laurentino Cortizo, President of the Republic of Panama.

“Panamanian pilots Rainiero Salas and Juan Feliu, a team from the Ministry of Health (Minsa) and the National Border Service (Senafront), who risked their lives in the operation, complied with their quarantine and tested negative for Covid-19,” the president wrote on his Twitter account.

Zaandam set sail from Argentina on 7 March and was prevented from calling at Chilean ports due to the closure of the terminals for passenger ships in the country. The same situation occurred in other South American countries due to the restrictions imposed by the governments as a preventive measure against Covid-19.

Due to this situation, on March 27, the ship was off the coast of Panama to receive assistance from Rotterdam where asymptomatic passengers were transferred from Covid-19. It should be noted that the transfer of passengers from one ship to another took place after four people had already died on board the Zaandam.

Subsequently, on 30 March, both Holland America Line cruise ships completed a humanitarian crossing through the Panama Canal, “under extraordinary conditions and for humanitarian reasons”, to Port Everglades, where the passengers were finally able to disembark.