Shunned across region, cruise ship disembarks passengers in Cambodia
SIHANOUKVILLE. KAZINFORM Some passengers from a cruise ship that had been turned away from at least five ports in Asia over fears a person onboard may be suffering a coronavirus infection began disembarking in Cambodia on Friday, Kyodo reports.
The Westerdam, carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew, docked at the southwestern port of Sihanoukville on Thursday after the Cambodian government allowed the ship to enter the port on humanitarian grounds.
Before the passengers were allowed to leave the ship, health officials boarded it to conduct medical checks.
According to Cambodian Health Minister Mam Bunheng, samples collected from 20 passengers who had been ill all tested negative for the coronavirus, named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization,
The passengers who left the ship were greeted by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The ship departed Hong Kong on Feb. 1 for a 14-day cruise ending in Japan. However, the destination country asked the ship operator to return to Hong Kong on suspicion that a suspected virus infection case had been confirmed on board.
The ship was subsequently turned away by Taiwan, the Philippines, Guam and Thailand over virus fears.
The ship's operator, U.S.-based Holland America Line, has repeatedly stated that there are no suspected cases of COVID-19 infection on board.