What to Know About the Cruise Ships That Have Been Affected by Coronavirus
Amid the spread of coronavirus, which has infected over 60,000 people globally, passengers on cruise ships following the outbreak quickly had their itineraries changed.
Holland America’s Westerdam cruise ship — that was denied entry in five countries even though there were no confirmed cases of coronavirus on board — has finally been allowed to dock in Cambodia. Early Thursday local time, the ship docked at the Sihanoukville port where it will remain for a few days. Guests will disembark as they are cleared to travel, and will fly home on flights arranged by the cruise line. They also received refunds and were offered a future cruise credit, the company said in a statement.
The ship, that departed Hong Kong on February 1, was scheduled to disembark in Shanghai last week before coronavirus — now known as covid-19 — spread in mainland China. Over the past few days, the ship was also denied disembarkment in the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Guam and Thailand, amid fears of spreading the virus despite its assertion that all 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members onboard were healthy.
“All guests on board are healthy and despite erroneous reports there are no known or suspected cases of coronavirus on board, nor have there ever been,” the cruiseline said at the time.
Another cruise ship that has been significantly affected at sea by the deadly outbreak is the Diamond Princess that is currently under quarantine. Docked in Yokohoma, Japan since Feb. 4 with 2,666 passengers and 1,045 crew members aboard, 218 passengers are infected with 44 of those cases having been confirmed in the past day, according to an update from the cruise line.
Those infected with the virus will be hospitalized, however the ship will remained quarantined until Feb. 19. Passengers are encouraged to spend as much time outside as possible for fresh air while on the ship.
A Royal Caribbean cruise ship underwent 48 hours of testing by the CDC last week after docking in New Jersey. A total of 27 passengers were tested for coronavirus and all results came back negative.
In January, Carnival’s Costa Smeralda ship was also quarantined in a port north of Rome after a passenger who had arrived from Hong Kong was suspected to have coronavirus. They were instead diagnosed with the common cold and the ship's passengers were allowed to disembark, according to The BBC.
Meanwhile, on land, the U.S. confirmed its 15th case of the virus on Thursday, according to the CDC..
"The patient is among a group of people under a federal quarantine order at JBSA-Lackland in Texas because of their recent return to the U.S. on a State Department-chartered flight that arrived on February 7, 2020," the CDC said.
More than 1,300 have died of the virus, according to CNN. At least 3,400 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals.