(KRON) – Four elderly passengers onboard Holland America’s MS Zaandam have died on the ship after two passengers were confirmed to have coronavirus.

The Zaandam is currently carrying more than 100 passengers complaining of flu-like symptoms similar to coronavirus.

In a statement, Holland America confirmed two people have tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and we are doing everything we can to support them during this difficult time,” Holland America Line said of the four passengers in a statement.

Further details on the passengers who died were not immediately available.

Officials said 53 passengers and 85 crew members are sick of the total 1,243 passengers and 586 cruise members on the ship.

There are 305 Americans on board.

No one has been off the ship since March 14 when it was in Punta Arenas, Chile.

The cruise had originally started its voyage in Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 7 and was scheduled to end sailing in San Antonio, Chile on March 21.

Then Holland America announced it would suspend cruise operations for at least 30 days amid the pandemic and ends its cruises currently in progress.

A second ship, Holland America’s MS Rotterdam, was deployed to provide the Zaandam with extra supplies and resources.

Officials said passengers will be separated based on their condition between the Zandaam and Rotterdam.

“Today we announced a plan to transfer groups of healthy Zaandam guests to Rotterdam, with strict protocols for this process developed in conjunction with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” Holland America’s statement read. “Only those who have not been ill will be moved, and health screenings will be conducted before transferring.”

According to the statement, passengers over 70 will be transferred first, and quarantine will continue onboard both the Zaandam and the Rotterdam until disembarkation.

Anyone who has come in contact with a sick person will also remain on the Zaandam. All onboard were provided with face masks when the ships met.

The two ships received permission to anchor off the coast of Panama to meet and transfer supplies and passengers.

The disembarkation plan has yet to be finalized.

The cruise line said anyone with family onboard Zaandam can call the following numbers for information:

  • 877-425-2231
  • 206-626-7398

Complimentary telephone counseling services have also been made available to all guests and crew if they need extra support.

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