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Canadian cruise ship passengers arrive in Toronto; now in 14-day isolation

Last Updated Apr 4, 2020 at 8:05 pm EDT

Passengers are seen on the balconies as M/S Rotterdam Cruise Ship arrives at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States on April 02, 2020. (Photo by Eva Marie Uzcategui Trinkl/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A group of Canadian cruise ship passengers made it back to home soil Friday after being stranded at sea for nearly two weeks.

Global Affairs Canada said the 225 passengers had been aboard Holland American Line’s MS Zaandam and MS Rotterdam– ships that had seen outbreaks of COVID-19.

The two ships were given permission to dock at Port Everglades, Florida by U.S. officials on Thursday.

The passengers were screened by officials before boarding a flight to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, where they were screened again upon landing. All of the passengers are now subject to a mandatory 14-day period of self-isolation.

Global Affairs said 21 Canadians from the two ships remain in Florida.

“Passengers who displayed symptoms will remain in quarantine on the ships until they recover,” a government statement said. “They will be monitored closely by health care professionals. Those needing urgent medical assistance will be treated locally.”

Global Affairs said they know of 97 Canadians and two Canadian crew members on the Coral Princess ship, which is currently docked in Miami.

“The Coral Princess has confirmed there are positive cases onboard,” the government said. “We are aware of reports of two deaths on board the ship and can confirm that no Canadians were among those who died.”

Princess Cruises says disembarkation of guests who are fit to fly will begin Sunday.

The Coral Princess departed San Antonio on March 5 and was set to end its voyage March 19 in Buenos Aires before the COVID-19 pandemic suspended operations.

The ship had been looking for a place to dock since March 13.

Fifty-six other Canadians remain stuck on six other cruise ships, however, the government said they are not aware of any of those Canadians testing positive for COVID-19.

Global Affairs says it is also continuing repatriation flights to bring Canadians home who are stranded around the globe due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The government says flights from Algeria, Peru, Trinidad and Tobabo and India all arrived in Canada. Additional flights from Argentina, Cuba, El Salvador, India, Lebanon and Serbia are scheduled to arrive on Sunday.

All returning travellers are subject to mandatory 14-day self-isolation upon their return.

“Canada is continuing the largest and most complex repatriation effort our country has undertaken in recent history,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne. “I will continue to work relentlessly with my foreign minister counterparts to help facilitate the safe return of Canadians.”