[ABC News] Coronavirus confirmed in US woman who was passenger on Westerdam cruise ship
Posted February 17, 2020 11:01:22
A passenger from the Westerdam cruise ship, which was allowed to dock in Cambodia last week after being turned away from several other countries, has tested positive to coronavirus.
More than 2,000 passengers and crew were on board the MS Westerdam, which was stranded at sea for about a fortnight after being rejected by the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
They were regularly tested for coronavirus on board, but there were no confirmed cases when the ship was allowed to dock in Cambodia last week.
When it arrived, 20 passengers and crew were screened for coronavirus "out of an abundance of caution" but all results came back negative, ship owner Holland America said.
However, an 83-year-old US woman who left Cambodia and travelled on to Malaysia tested positive on Friday.
Another test was ordered, which confirmed she had the illness.
Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Waz Azizah Wan Ismail said Malaysia would not let any more Westerdam passengers enter the country.
"The COVID-19 retest was carried out on the husband and wife pair late last night and the results were the same," she said.
"That is positive for the wife and negative for her husband."
Malaysian authorities said 145 passengers from the cruise ship had arrived in Malaysia but only the American couple showed symptoms.
Wan Azizah said 137 passengers had left Kuala Lumpur, while another six were awaiting flights to their destinations.
The Malaysian Prime Minister said the country would also turn away any cruise ship that departed or transited at any port in China.
Holland America said 236 passengers and 747 crew remained aboard the vessel.
Cambodia's Government said its own 20 tests had been done in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
There are widespread fears cruise ships around Asia may be spreading the virus.
The biggest cluster outside China has been on the Diamond Princess, quarantined off Japan's Yokohama.
Out of about 3,700 passengers and crew on board, 355 people have tested positive, including at least 16 Australians.ABC/Reuters
Topics:travel-health-and-safety, infectious-diseases-other, diseases-and-disorders, health, respiratory-diseases, malaysia, cambodia
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