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Cruise ships beg Florida to dock amid coronavirus pandemic

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says Feds working directly with Panama to get stranded cruise ship passengers home' Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says Feds working directly with Panama to get stranded cruise ship passengers home
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Canadian government is working directly with the Panamanian government to get the 247 Canadians who are passengers on the Zaandam ship home. The ship is stranded off the coast of Panama. – Mar 28, 2020

Two ships carrying passengers and crew from an ill-fated South American cruise are pleading with Florida officials to let them carry off the sick and dead from the coronavirus pandemic.

But Gov. Ron DeSantis says Florida’s health care resources are already stretched too thin.

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

As the Zaandam and its sister ship the Rotterdam make for Florida, passengers confined to their rooms are anxious for relief, hoping DeSantis will change his mind and allow them to disembark despite confirmed coronavirus cases aboard.

The governor said he has been in contact with the Coast Guard and the White House about diverting them, and local officials were meeting Tuesday to decide whether to let them dock at Broward County’s Port Everglades cruise ship terminal.

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Click to play video: 'Edmonton couple stuck on cruise ship that saw four passenger deaths.' Edmonton couple stuck on cruise ship that saw four passenger deaths.
Edmonton couple stuck on cruise ship that saw four passenger deaths – Mar 29, 2020

Workers who greet passengers there were among Florida’s first confirmed coronavirus cases.

“We are hoping for news today on whether or not the ships can dock but the governor has been clear that he isn’t having it,” said Michele Parent, daughter of Jocelyne Parent, 75, who is an Ontario resident on board one of the ships with a friend.

“I have drawn a parallel between 9/11 and this pandemic — I am asking people to remember little but mighty Gander, Newfoundland, in those first days, how they opened every door to weary, frightened Americans.”

Holland America said the Rotterdam took on nearly 1,400 people who appear to be healthy, leaving 450 guests and 602 crew members on the Zaandam, including more than 190 who said they are sick.

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More than 300 U.S. citizens are on both ships combined.

There are 247 Canadians also on board.

With a file from Global News.

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