Turned Away By Four Nations, HAL’s Westerdam Welcomed In Cambodia

Cruise Week

The page one headline on The Bangkok Post said it all: "Finally, Acceptance."

Cruise Week reports that Holland America Line’s Westerdam, which spent the past two weeks at sea after being rejected by Taiwan, Japan, Guam, and Thailand, over coronavirus fears -- despite having no reports of passengers infected -- is now at anchorage in the waters of Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

Numerous world health leaders cheered Cambodia's decision, noting the other countries made their decisions based on fear and not fact.

The Post quoted the head of the World Health Organization who praised Cambodia's decision. "This is an example of international solidarity we have been consistently calling for," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "Outbreaks can bring out the best and the worst in people."

Press reports elsewhere indicated that passengers sounded jubilant as the welcome was recorded as being very warm, including the presence of cheering locals carrying flowers. The Westerdam will spend a few days at Sihanoukville. From there, passengers will board charter flights to Phnom Penh to fly home, with HAL paying their fares.

Officials are onboard for clearance in the harbour. Inevitably, given the circumstances, there are check-ups. The Khmer Times reports: "Cambodian authorities said today that at least 20 passengers of Westerdam, who have been ill, will have their blood specimens tested at the Pasteur Institute for possible coronavirus.

"Major General Chuon Narin, Preah Sihanouk provincial police, said that a government working group is aboard the ship to perform medical checks on more than 2,200 passengers and crew before they are allowed to disembark the ship."

Meanwhile, The Asahi Shimbun reports that 44 more people on the Diamond Princess have tested positive for the virus that causes coronavirus, now known as COVID-19.

"The ship, which is still carrying more than 3,500 passengers and crewmembers, has 218 people infected with the virus out of 713 people tested since the ship returned to the Yokohama Port on 3FEB.

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