Cruise with suspected coronavirus patients to dock in Florida as US records 1,000 deaths

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The Zaandam and sister ship the Rotterdam, which was sent to help it, were given the green light to disembark people at Port Everglades after days of negotiation with local officials. Passengers have not been able to leave the ship for almost three weeks.

Earlier this week, William Burke, chief maritime officer for Carnival Corp, which owns the ships said nine people had tested positive for the virus.

Four elderly people died on the Zaandam – including a British man – and at least two others from COVID-19 accoriding to Mr Burke.

There were 442 guests and 603 crew on the Zaandam.

On the Rotterdam sister ship there were 808 guests and 583 crew onboard.

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A cruise ship carrying passengers with suspected coronavirus has been given permission to dock (Image: GETTY)

Countdown blunder: Rachel Riley's huge mistake after replacing Carol Vorderman exposed

Nine people on the ship tested positive for coronavirus (Image: GETTY)

An elderly British couple aboard the Zaandam previously issued a desperate plea for the US to allow the vessel to dock.

Tony and Jennie Wills from Earls Barton in Northamptonshire, spoke out after the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis, signalled he did not want the vessel’s passengers and crew to dock there.

Mrs Wills, 74, told Sky news: “This is a real humanitarian crisis and we appeal, we pray, we implore America, all the governments around the world, please America, please let us land somewhere.

“Please, please, we just so all want to come home.

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There were 442 guests and 603 crew on the Zaandam (Image: GETTY)

“This is on behalf of absolutely everybody on board the two ships.”

Her husband, 80, had previously said information from the captain and the cruise operator, Holland America Line, had been poor.

Mr Willis also spoke out, adding: “We are obviously realising there is a hell of a lot more illness on this boat than we ever realised and we are getting very, very worried.

“We need to get off.”

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An elderly British couple aboard the Zaandam previously issued a desperate plea for the US to allow the vessel to dock (Image: GETTY)

Countdown blunder: Rachel Riley's huge mistake after replacing Carol Vorderman exposed

Trump said he would ask the governor to allow the ships to dock in Florida (Image: GETTY)

Now, speaking at the White House’s daily coronavirus briefing, President Trump gave the green light the Willis’ had been looking for.

Mr Trump said he would ask the governor to allow the ships to dock in Florida, saying: “They’re dying on the ship.

“I’m going to do what’s right. Not only for us, but for humanity.”

The news comes after the US became the first country to record 1,000 coronavirus deaths in a single day.

On Wednesday the death toll in the country rose past 5,000.

The US is now the worst affected country by COVID-19 with more than 236,000 infections.

The virus shows no signs of slowing down, despite the entire nation being on lockdown.

Experts say as many as 200,000 will die by the time the pandemic is over.

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Trump said ‘I’m going to do what’s right. Not only for us, but for humanity’ (Image: GETTY)

On Thursday, the coronavirus death toll in America continued to rise to 5,647.

The US death toll is now far greater that the number of deaths officially reported in China, where the outbreak first originated back in December.

New York continues to have the most, with 92,381 infections and 2,373 deaths across the state.

New York City has rushed to bring in more medical professionals and ambulances as the city is forced to introduce parked refrigerated morgue trucks on the streets to collect the dead.


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