A British passenger brought ashore by Navy personnel has died in a Merida hospital. Photo: Punto Medio

An elderly British cruise ship passenger with flu symptoms was transferred from an offshore cruise ship to a Yucatan hospital on Monday.

The Marella Explorer 2 approached Progreso’s shore without docking, appeasing authorities who did not want the stranded ship risking the local population. Four crew members reportedly tested positive for coronavirus when it was touring the Caribbean.

The ship made its way to Yucatan at the request of Mexico and the British Embassy in Mexico for humanitarian reasons. While it was originally to dock at the port, a compromise was reached when the ship was kept 10 kilometers offshore, where the critically ill patient, 71, was transferred by Navy boat. It was not known if the passenger had been tested for COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus.

No other passenger was allowed off the ship, state authorities said.

News that a ship with infected crew was to dock in Progreso set off a firestorm on social media by mid-afternoon Monday.

Before going to the port of Progreso, the ship was stranded in Bridgetown, Barbados, where most of the passengers disembarked.

The Marella Explorer 2 remained off the Yucatecan coast as of early today.

Yucatan’s coronavirus cases jumped by five to reach 46 confirmed cases. Several municipalities are on lockdown and not allowing non-residents to enter, and an alcohol ban along the beach intends to discourage vacationers from slipping in.

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