British retired GP, 86, is sick on cruise ship that in Florida

Pictured: British GP, 86, is among sick passengers taken off cruise ship after it docked in Florida alongside sister vessel following hellish journey that saw four die of coronavirus as they were turned away from 14 countries

  • Dr Partha Basu, from Manchester, was on the MS Rotterdam with his wife Marian, 69, a former nurse
  • The Rotterdam and the MS Zaandam are carrying more than 200 British tourists, who are being repatriated 
  • Dr Basu’s family is ‘no longer hopeful’ octagenerian can make the trip across the Atlantic after he became sick 
  • Daughter Tanya Basu revealed that her father had been carted off the Rotterdam to hospital where he is stable
  • As many as 13 travelers have been rushed to a hospital in ambulances suffering from flu-like symptoms 

An 86-year-old retired British doctor has fallen ill aboard one of the coronavirus-stricken cruise ships which were finally allowed to berth in Florida after being denied harbour from 14 countries. 

Dr Partha Basu, and his wife Marian, 69, a former nurse, from Manchester, were travelling around South America on the MS Zandaam liner when passengers started getting sick.

The couple were transferred to its sister ship, the MS Rotterdam, but it too began reporting infections believed to be coronavirus.

Both ships were carrying more than 200 British tourists, and a repatriation mission has been launched to bring the stranded UK nationals home.

But Dr Basu’s family is ‘no longer hopeful’ the octogenarian can make the trip across the Atlantic after he became sick.

Although the ex-GP is not believed to have been tested, it is feared he is infected with coronavirus after displaying symptoms.

His anxious daughter Tanya Basu revealed that her father had been carted off the Rotterdam in Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, and taken to hospital, where he was in a stable condition but struggling to eat because of his diabetes.

Posting a picture of her parents on Facebook, she yesterday wrote: ‘Today is my dad’s 86th birthday. This is him, Dr Partha Basu, retired GP from Manchester and my mum, Marian, a retired nurse & health visitor for homeless families; currently on the Rotterdam. 

‘Unfortunately my dad has taken ill yesterday so we are no longer hopeful that they can come home soon but we are staying positive, one challenge at a time.

‘They continue to tell us how amazing the crew are to keep going, how helpful the captain’s updates are and now how kind the medical professionals are on board.’

Dr Partha Basu, from Manchester, was on the MS Rotterdam with his wife Marian, 69, a former nurse, when the deadly disease spread on the liner and its sister ship, the MS Zaandam

A critically-ill passenger is rushed off the MS Zaandam by hazmat-clad medical workers and placed in an ambulance at Port Everglades, Port Lauderdale, yesterday. The ship was allowed to dock after being turned away by 14 countries

The couple’s other daughter, Sally Worthington, described her father’s symptoms as similar to those suffered by Covid-19 victims.

She yesterday told the BBC: ‘I spoke to mum today and she said dad is better but it could be flu, a chest infection or the virus – it looks as if they will take him straight to hospital from the boat.’

Dr Basu, who worked as a GP in the Newton Heath district of Manchester, and Mrs Basu were only scheduled to spend a week aboard the Zaandam in South America.

But when people aboard started falling ill with flu-like symptoms, alarm bells started ringing and the health passengers were transferred to the sister ship Rotterdam off Panama.

The ships were turned away by 14 countries, before reluctantly being allowed to dock off Florida, where the ill passengers were hurried off to hospital.  

They were placed on stretchers and taken to ambulances waiting on the quayside by hazmat-clad medical staff.

Four passengers on the Zaandam died during the cruise, including 75-year-old British passenger John Carter. 

His widow, 74, who is struggling to eat, has been quarantined on the ship in isolation. Two of those who died had tested positive for Covid-19.

As many as 13 tourists and one crew member have been taken to Broward Health Medical Centre with flu-like symptoms, reports Local10, while 45 passengers on the ship have been told to quarantine on board. 

The ship was at first denied harbour but later allowed to dock alongside the Rotterdam on Thursday after President Donald Trump intervened. 

There have been nine confirmed cases of coronavirus on the MS Zaandam and 250 passengers and crew have presented with flu-like symptoms. Those that are healthy were disembarked to the MS Rotterdam.

The 1,211 people on the ships who are healthy will be disembarked and driven to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport before they are flown home to San Francisco, London, Paris and other destinations. 

Remaining 1,211 passengers on board that feel well will be disembarked over the next two to three days and taken to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport for flights to their home countries. As many as 311 are American citizens

MS Zaandam and its sister ship MS Rotterdam were allowed to dock at the port after 27 days at sea

A black SUV with Covid-19 Essential Service was also spotted on the quayside at Port Everglades

An unwell passenger is moved from the MS Zaandam to a waiting ambulance in Port Everglades yesterday

As many as 45 people have been asked to quarantine on board. An unwell passenger is shown above after being offloaded

A second unwell passenger is taken by ambulance for treatment. Four passengers have died on board – two tested positive for coronavirus, which has caused a global shutdown

An unwell passenger is taken off the MS Zaandam yesterday evening before being transported to a hospital

Luggage taken off the ship will also be disinfected before it is returned to travelers for their journey home

The hazmat-clad group were pictured preparing the suitcases for disinfection before their journey back to home countries

Deaths from coronavirus in the US have continued to escalate since the outbreak began

Mr Carter’s family desperately pleaded with President Trump to allow his widow to disembark on Thursday.

‘She is struggling to eat the limited meals and is feeling unwell,’ they said. ‘She is obviously distressed and extremely frightened.

‘They were both in good health and did not foresee the terrible situation that has arisen. John became unwell aboard the ship on March 22.’

Florida authorities have said that British nationals, and those from other countries, can fly back home. The British embassy in Florida said on Twitter it is ‘celebrating the fact that British nationals on board will soon be going home’.

Disembarkation of international passengers begins today with 1,164 scheduled to depart for flights to Toronto, Atlanta, San Francisco, Paris, Frankfurt and London, reports Business Insider.

The first American passengers, who are Florida residents and are healthy, were allowed to disembark and drive home yesterday.

The remaining passengers on board will be disembarked on Saturday, the cruise liner said. They will be health screened by port authorities and cleared for entry by US Customs and Border Protection.

No crew from either ship will disembark. 

The MS Zaadam began its voyage in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7 and was due to disembark in San Antonio, Chile on March 21. However, the coronavirus outbreak forced the ship to veer more than 4,000 miles off course.

The MS Rotterdam had set off for a 15-day cruise from San Diego, California, to the Panama Canal on March 11. It was forced to veer more than 1,000 miles off course to reach Florida. 

An ambulance pictured next to the MS Rotterdam cruise ship at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, yesterday before disembarkation

A passenger is moved by stretcher into an ambulance. They are being taken to Broward Health Medical Center for treatment

An unwell passenger is pictured being loaded into an ambulance by health workers before transport to a nearby hospital

A passenger gives a thumbs up to others on board as they are moved to an ambulance. Nine passengers on the MS Zaandam had tested positive for coronavirus

British passenger John Carter, 75, died on board the MS Zaandam after falling ill on March 22. His widow, who has not been allowed to disembark, is said to not be eating properly. Her family have pleaded for her to be allowed to return to the UK

The decks of the MS Zaandam this morning. Healthy passengers have been moved to the MS Rotterdam, with 45 people asked to quarantine themselves on board

Two people on the MS Zaandam wearing facemasks look out from its decks yesterday morning

Crew members on board the MS Zaandam as it docked at Port Everglades yesterday morning

In a statement yesterday, Holland America extended their ‘sincere gratitude’ to President Trump, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for helping to resolve the situation. 

‘These travelers could have been any one of us or our families, unexpectedly caught in the middle of this unprecedented closure of global borders that happened in a matter of days and without warning,’ said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America.

 ‘We are so happy to be able to get our guests home and assist those few who need additional medical services. The COVID-19 situation is one of the most urgent tests of our shared humanity, and we must do everything we can to ensure we continue to act in ways consistent with our common human dignity. 

Thursday’s deal comes after Trump urged DeSantis to drop his opposition to accepting the ships. The Governor has expressed concern that ill passengers will take hospital beds away from Florida’s inhabitants who catch COVID-19. 

The state is thought to be one of the country’s next coronavirus hot spots, with confirmed cases of the virus surging there in recent days. Florida now has reported over 8,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and on Wednesday the state’s death toll surged 16 per cent.

The MS Zaandam was turned away from docking at all South American ports.

The Zaandam is pictured arriving in Fort Lauderdale, Florida Thursday. The coronavirus-stricken ship is carrying 1,045 passengers and crew

Land at last! The Zaandam is pictured making its way to port shortly before 5pm Eastern Time Thursday

The cruise liner made its way into the Port of Everglades just before 5pm, much to the relief of those on board

The MS Rotterdam is pictured pulling in to port after sister ship Zaandam. The boat is pictured off the coast of Florida ahead of its arrival in the city. 1,381 people are on board the ship

Passengers from  the Rotterdam cheer as they head to dock at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale

Rotterdam’s staff members look on as they head to dock at Port Everglades Thursday afternoon

Rescue workers stand by the Zaandam ready to help sick passengers and crew off the ship

Canadian passengers Chris and Anna Joiner ask for help onboard the Zaandam on March 27 

Holland America has now suspended all cruise operations for the next thirty days, extending a previous suspension begun on March 13. It is also aiming to end all cruises currently in progress as quickly as possible.

There were 808 guests and 583 crew on the MS Rotterdam and 442 guests and 603 crew a board the MS Zaandam.

Guests booked on cruises affected by cancellations have been offered a full refund.


During Wednesday’s White House press conference, Trump said of the cruise ships’ passengers: ‘They’re dying, so we have to do something’.

‘It’s a tough situation, it’s a tough situation. You can understand there are people who are sick on those ships and states don’t wanna take them – they have enough problems right now they don’t want to take them.

‘But from a humane standpoint we don’t have a choice. We have to… people are dying. We’re going to do something.’ 

More than 236,000 Americans have contracted COVID-19, and more than 5,100 have died due to the virus.  

Governor DeSantis said Wednesday that he was only interested accepting the 49 Floridians on board. 

‘My concern is simply that we have worked so hard to make sure we have adequate hospital space in the event of a COVID-19 surge that we wouldn’t want those valuable beds to be taken because of the cruise ship,’ he stated. 

‘Just to drop people off at the place where we’re having the highest number of cases right now just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,’ the Governor added.

On Wednesday, DeSantis issued a ‘stay-at-home’ order for residents of his state amid the exploding case numbers. He has been criticized for implementing the order too late – with critics 

However, his reversal comes amid increasing pressure – not just from the President, but  from other Florida politicians as well. 

‘It is immoral not to let them come. We need a plan, a healthcare plan, obviously to protect the citizens on the ground and make sure that we test everyone, put them in isolation if necessary,’ Florida Representative Donna Shalala told CNN Thursday. 

‘We have to admit them, the sickest ones need to go to our hospitals, and, of course, the hospitals are crowded but we Americans don’t turn people away.’  

On Saturday evening, the Rotterdam took on nearly 1,400 people who appear to be healthy from the Zaandam. 

The passengers were seen boarding lifeboats at the side of the Zaandam, before making their way across to the Rotterdam which was anchored close by. 

After the exercise, 450 guests and 602 crew members remained on the Zaandam. 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that that he was only interested accepting the 49 Floridians on board the cruise ships 

During Wednesday’s White House press conference, Trump said of the cruise ships’ passengers: ‘They’re dying, so we have to do something’

Florida is one of the nation’s coronavirus hot spots with deaths surging 16% Wednesday. DeSantis says he wants to keep hospital beds for locals

On Saturday, passengers were seen boarding lifeboats at the side of the Zaandam, before making their way across to the Rotterdam which was anchored close by


Passengers have been complaining about deteriorating conditions on board the vessels – with some say they feel imprisoned. 

One 80-year-old passenger from San Francisco told The New York Times that he was disheartened by the fact that the U.S. has not been more helpful in the rescue attempts. 

‘Jesus Christ, people, this is not the Black Death. What kind of fragile people have we become that we can’t rise up to the challenge?’ he stated via text message.  

Passenger Chris Joiner told Canadian broadcaster CBC he had asked the Canadian embassy in Chile for help, saying: ‘Get us the hell off this ship.’

Toronto resident Michael Kasprow said he’s worried about his elderly mother and her friend, both in their 80s, who are stuck onboard. ‘We’ve seen what it can do on a cruise ship, and I just feel like they’re sitting ducks,’ he said. 

Another couple spoke of their fears that, even once they dock, they may be stranded away from home due to escalating travel restrictions and flight bans.

‘How will we get home from a port with flights diminishing by the day?’ said Norma Kirkham, 63, from Victoria, Canada. ‘Where will we stay?’

Canadian passenger Anna Joiner is pictured in her cabin onboard the MS Zaandam last week. Many passengers have complained they are ‘imprisoned’ on the vessels, and their chances of contracting coronavirus are growing by the day


 Last Thursday, more than a dozen crew members from two Costa cruise ships were brought to shore in Miami, before being rushed to the hospital to be tested for coronavirus. 

Startling footage saw more than a dozen crew from the Costa Favolosa and the Costa Magica jump into lifeboats in order to reach mainland United States. 

The crew members wore hazmat suits and were inspected by medics once they arrived on dry land, and several ambulances were on standby to escort them to hospital.   

A company spokesperson said the Costa Favolosa and the Costa Magica are carrying a combined total of 1,939 crew, and there are at least 30 who have come down with a flu-like illness. 

The remaining crew from the two boats are still trapped on the vessels, which are anchored outside of Miami, a week on. 

The decision to bring in sick crew members divided the Miami community – with many claiming that resources should instead be going to locals, and not to overseas nationals from cruise ship companies.

The decision to bring in sick crew members divided the Miami community – with many claiming that resources should instead be going to locals, and not to overseas nationals from cruise ship companies 

More than a dozen crew members from two Costa cruise ships were brought to shore in Miami, before being rushed onward to hospital to be tested for coronavirus

Still stuck: There are 1,926 crew members who remain on board the Costa Favolosa and the Costa Magica, which are both anchored off the coast of Miami for more than a week. They have not been allowed to dock in the city


The Zaandam set sail on a two-week voyage from Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7 – 10 days before the company canceled all voyages over fears of an outbreak – and was due to arrive in Chile on March 21.

The ship had been granted permission to dock in Punta Arenas in Chile but when it arrived on March 14, permission was refused and passengers were prevented from leaving.

It stopped in Valparaiso, Chile, to take on more provisions and fuel but people were ordered to stay on board. 

Carnival Cruises, the world’s largest cruise operator which also jointly owns the Zaandam and Rotterdam ships, has said more than 6,000 passengers are still stuck at sea on board its ships. 

Including the 2,000-plus on board the Zaandam and Rotterdam, Carnival’s Costa Magica and Costa Favolosa are also stranded at sea near Miami amid negotiations with the US Coast Guard to evacuate passengers.

States and nations have been turning away ships after cases of coronavirus were confirmed on board. 

Cruise ships have become particular hotbeds for the virus, with a number of liners being doomed by fatal outbreaks. 

In the worst cruise ship crisis so far, 706 people tested positive on the Diamond Princess after Japanese authorities imposed a two-week lockdown in Yokohama.

At least seven people have died after they were taken to hospital from the doomed vessel.

Passengers were confined to their cabins during the lockdown but several countries eventually lost patience with Japan and airlifted their citizens home.

Japan was widely criticised for its handling of the ship, with one disease expert saying the quarantine was ‘completely inadequate’ after viewing the conditions on board. 

Japan had initially impounded the ship after a passenger who left the ship in Hong Kong in January subsequently tested positive. 

Weeks later another Caribbean Princess ship was struck by an outbreak, when two passengers and 19 crew members on the Grand Princess cruise ship tested positive for coronavirus in early March. 

The ship docked in Oakland, California, on March 9 with 3,500 on board and people were repatriated and sent to army bases for quarantine.

Cruise ships still at sea:

Cruise line: Holland America Line

MS Zaandam: 190 ill onboard; 4 deaths

MS Rotterdam: No COVID-19 cases

Most passengers will disembark on April 2 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Cruise line: Princess Cruises

Coral Princess: No COVID-19 cases 

Passengers will disembark on April 4 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Pacific Princess: No COVID-19 cases

Passengers will arrives in Los Angeles in mid-April.

Cruise line: P&O Cruises

The Arcadia: No COVID-19 cases

This ship is expected to dock in Southampton, England, on April 12.

Cruise line: Cunard Line

Queen Mary 2: No COVID-19 cases 

There are 264 passengers onboard and the ship is heading to Southampton, England.

Cruise line: MSC Cruises

MSC Magnifica: No COVID-19 cases

The ship is heading to Europe 

Cruise line: Cruise & Maritime Voyages

Columbus: No COVID-19 cases 

The ship is expected to arrive in Tilbury, England, on April 13. 

Cruise line: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

MS Europa: No COVID-19 cases 

With only crew members onboard the ship is sailing to Barbados and with an expected arrival of April 3.

Hanseatic Nature: No COVID-19 cases

With only crew members onboard, the the ship is expected to arrive in Hamburg, Germany, on April 15.

Cruise line: Carnival Cruises

Costa Magica: Stranded near the port of Miami.

Costa Favolosa: Stranded near the port of Miami. 


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