SARASOTA, Fla. - The 31-day cruise was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime. Gloria and Bill Weed left with another Sarasota couple in early March. They flew to Buenos Aires where they boarded the Zaandam for a South American cruise.
"They left before it was a pandemic, nobody knew what it was going to be," said Gloria and Bill's daughter, Jennifer Allan.
Now they're stuck aboard the ship. Four people have died and more than 190 are sick, likely with COVID-19, including Bill.
Most aboard are foreign nationals, but 305 are Americans and some are Floridians, including Gloria and Bill. Allan wants them home.
"The hardest part is not being able to do anything. We can log onto the apps and see where they are, but there is nothing we can do," she told FOX 13.
The Zaandam and another Holland America ship, the Rotterdam, are begging Florida officials to let them dock. The Zaandam was scheduled to end it's cruise in Forth Lauderdale on April 7. Governor Ron DeSantis said there's no room in South Florida hospitals to treat so many sick passengers.
"It hurts when I see people say that, they should because they chose to take the trip they should die and live with the consequences. Because this could be their family members just as easily as it is mine," said Allan.
Gloria and Bill are confined to their cabin. They've only left once in nine days, for a 30-minute walk. That was more than five days ago.
"They're on an inside cabin. They can’t see outside. They can’t get fresh air. There’s nothing they can do they can only sit and hope that the ship gets where it needs to be," said Allan.
Jennifer and her family hope someone will intervene soon. Her father, 75-year-old Bill Weed is sick and getting worse.
"He's had a fever now for 9 or 10 days and he hasn’t eaten in days. I don’t know how much he can drink. He’s not keeping anything down and he’s coughing a lot. They just don’t have enough medicine or medical supplies to help everyone," she said.
With each hour that passes, hope slowly fades.
"I am concerned that there will be people on that ship that will die before they even get to Florida. The longer Florida takes to make a decision on when to let people off that boat, the worst it will be for everyone," said Allan.
If you feel sick:
The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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