Phnom Penh (FN), Feb. 13 – With approval of Cambodia’s Government, the Westerdam cruise, which has 1,455 passengers and 802 crew on board, finally docked in Cambodia’s Sihanoukville port after she was refused entries to six countries due to fearing of Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19).
The ship was denied entries by Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Guam, South Korea, and the Philippines despite assurances from operator Holland America Line that no cases of the viral disease known as COVID-19 have been confirmed among the more than 2,200 passengers and crew on board.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen told Fresh News CEO Lim Chea Vutha in a special interview on Wednesday night 12 February that the motives of entry are to eliminate fear and discrimination.
“Like I said, the real disease is fear, not the virus. We want to eliminate the fear of disease,” the premier told Fresh News CEO.
“Cambodia does not discriminate any countries. We must contribute to humanitarian affairs in times of emergency,” he said, adding that: “The Kingdom does not just cooperate with China, but with all nations. Coronavirus is a global challenge, and that our humanitarian affairs have no borders.”
Westerdam stated in her statement on Wednesday that she is extremely grateful to the Cambodian authorities for their support.
“We will arrive at 7:00 a.m. local time on Thursday, 13 February, and will remain in port for several days for disembarkation. Guests will be able to go ashore.”
“All guests on board are healthy and despite erroneous reports there are no known or suspected cases of coronavirus on board, nor have their ever been,” the statement added.
“Guests will disembark in Sihanoukville over the next few days and transfer via charter flights to Phnom Penh for forward travel home. Holland America Line will arrange and pay for all flights home, in addition to the full cruise refund and 100 per cent future cruise credit already communicated,” the company said.