- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2020

Movement of passengers and crew aboard the MS Westerdam cruise ship came to a halt after news about an 83-year-old American woman who was aboard the ship and flew from Cambodia to Malaysia tested positive for the coronavirus over the weekend.

The MS Westerdam had been turned away from other countries in Asia due to fears of the mysterious, quickly spreading virus that’s infected more than 71,000 people, until Cambodia finally agreed to allow the ship to dock last week.

Some of the passengers are now in hotels in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, while others remain on the ship.

The American woman, after flying out of Cambodia, stayed behind in Malaysia with her 84-year-old husband who was diagnosed with pneumonia to seek treatment.

Holland America Line, which owns the cruise ship, said Cambodian health officials were on the ship testing the 255 guests and 747 crew who were waiting for clearance. All guests staying at the hotel had already been tested.

“At this time, no other guests or crew onboard or at the hotel have reported any symptoms of the illness. Guests who have already returned home will be contacted by their local health department and provided further information,” it said in a statement.

The company also pointed out the U.S. woman who tested positive for coronavirus had not reported to the ship’s medical center during the cruise.

Holland America Line also on Monday said it is canceling its Feb. 29 cruise of Westerdam due to the coronavirus outbreak and changing travel restrictions in the region. The ship was due to depart Yokohama for a 14-day round trip cruise stopping mostly at Japanese ports.

The cruise ship company said it is prohibiting passengers who traveled from or through mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau, performing pre-boarding medical evaluations, screening for coronavirus for all passengers who show symptoms of any respiratory illness and delaying crew members from mainland China from joining any ship until further notice.

The MS Westerdam had been turned away by Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Guam and Thailand before Cambodia allowed it to dock at the port of Sihanoukville.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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