A cruise ship with more than 2,000 people on board arrived in Cambodia on Thursday one day after receiving permission from the authorities of the Asian country after being rejected by others by five countries in fear that one of the passengers is sick of Covid-19 for the new coronavirus.
The Westerdam, of the shipping company Holland America Line, anchored this morning in front of the coast of Sihanoukville, headquarters of the main seaport of the country, as confirmed by the government spokesman, Neth Pheaktra, in his Twitter account.
Sanitary and diplomatic personnel waited from the early morning in the port, according to Efe photographers, to assist passengers, who will remain on the ship while they are subjected to tests to rule out that any of them are carriers of the virus.
The ship, which travels 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members that departed on day 1 of Hong Kong, was scheduled to arrive on Saturday in the Japanese city of Yokohama, but Japanese authorities denied entry after a person on board showed symptoms of being infected with the coronavirus SARS-Cov-2 from China.
The company has reported that the ship is not in quarantine and has no reason to suspect that there are cases of the new coronavirus.
The Cambodian prime minister, Hun Sen, announced last night permission for Westerdam to dock in Sihanoukville after Taiwan, the Philippines, Guam and Thailand will reject the vessel despite the fact that so far none of the people on board have become ill.
The Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, thanked Cambodia and Hun Sen for their decision to allow the vessel to arrive.
“We appreciate this act of solidarity at a time when the world opens a window of opportunity to stop Covid-19 and stop stigma and fear,” Ghebreyesus said on his Twitter account.
The US embassy, the country from which the bulk of the passengers came from, indicated that it has sent a team that will work with the Westerdam crew, Cambodian authorities and other embassies staff to assist passengers to disembark and return to their countries originally.
The case of Westerdam took place after the Japanese authorities quarantined another cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, where at least 175 of its 3,700 people on board have tested positive for the coronavirus.
The World Health Organization on Tuesday baptized the disease as Covid-19, while the causative coronavirus has been called SARS-CoV-2 (previously provisionally called 2019-nCoV) by the International Virus Taxonomy Committee.
The name is composed of SARS (acute and severe respiratory syndrome), while “CO” refers to “crown”, “D” to “disease” (“disease”) and “-19” to “2019”.