A cruise ship which has been stranded in the South China Sea for almost two weeks to prevent the spread of coronavirus has been given permission to enter a Cambodian port.
Holland America Line ship Westerdam was refused permission to dock in several countries including the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea over the past 11 days amid growing fears of coronavirus.
However, Holland America Line told Travel Weekly in a statement all guests on board are healthy “despite erroneous reports”.
“There are no known or suspected cases of coronavirus on board, nor have their ever been,” the cruise line said.
This comes as China’s Hubei province, where coronavirus originated, reported 242 new deaths and 14,840 new cases of the virus since yesterday.
ABC News reported the new spike in deaths brings the death count to 1,310 in the province alone.
Chinese officials said the spike was the result of a new methodology for counting infections.
Westerdam was due to arrive in Sihanoukville, Cambodia at 7:00am local time today and will remain in port for several days. It is being reported Cambodia officials will be conducting health checks on all passengers before they leave the ship.
“Guests will be able to go ashore. All approvals have been received and we are extremely grateful to the Cambodian authorities for their support,” Holland America said.
Passengers will be flown via a charter flight to Phnom Penh, where the cruise line will pay for and arrange all flights home as well as a full refund on the cruise and 100 per cent future cruise credit.
Westerdam’s following cruise, which was scheduled to leave Yokohama in Japan on 15 February has been cancelled and the line is assessing the impact of current port restrictions in Asia on cruises departing beyond 29 February.
The ship was on a 14-day cruise that departed Hong Kong on 1 February and was carrying 1,455 guests and 802 crew. It was scheduled to disembark on 15 February in Yokohama, where Diamond Princess is currently quarantined.
40 new cases of the virus were confirmed on board Diamond Princess yesterday, bringing the total number of passengers diagnosed to 174.
Featured image source: iStock.com/sainaniritu