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Cruise Ship Denied by Five Ports Now Stuck at Sea

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MS Westerdam continues to be one of the latest cruise ships affected by the coronavirus outbreak, after Thailand became the fifth country to deny the ship from docking at its ports. This latest development keeps the 2,257 passengers and crew stuck aboard the Holland America Line ship after nearly two weeks at sea.

The ship had initially been permitted to dock at Laem Chabang, Thailand on February 13, 2020. However, panic over the coronavirus led Thailand’s Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, to announce on Tuesday that no crew members nor passengers would be allowed to disembark from the ship.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

In addition to Thailand, ports in Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Guam have denied entry of the passengers. The ship was originally due to dock in Yokohama, Japan on February 14. Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess is currently quarantined in Yokohama, with 130 of the ship’s 3,700 passengers and crew reported to have been infected with the coronavirus.

Though Thai officials are concerned that passengers aboard MS Westerdam may be infected by the virus, the ship’s operator says there is no reason to believe that there are any cases of coronavirus on board.

The World Health Organization may offer a solution by having health authorities board the ship to assess the health of passengers. Thai officials have allegedly suggested that, if the ship enters Thai waters, “authorities may seek to board the ship to determine the health status of passengers and crew, to determine whether they would be allowed to eventually disembark in Thailand.”

The ship is currently off the southern coast of Vietnam. According to FOX News, passengers have been given complimentary phone and Internet access, and Holland America Line with be granting passengers full refunds and 100 credit to their next cruise.

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Cruises

Cruise Ship Denied by Two Caribbean Ports Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

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An MSC Cruises ship was turned away from at least two ports in the Caribbean on Tuesday after a crew member fell ill amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

According to The New York Times, MSC Meraviglia was denied from docking in both Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Georgetown, Cayman Islands after port authorities learned that a crew member from the Philippines was ill. However, the Associated Press reported that the employee was believed to be sick with the common seasonal flu.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

“In an abundance of caution, in order to provide protection to the health and safety of the residents of the Cayman Islands, the government has denied permission for the cruise ship to call on Grand Cayman as previously scheduled,” Dwayne Seymour, health minister of the Cayman Islands, said in a statement.

The cruise line expressed frustration over the repeated denial, claiming that the ill crew member and all passengers on the ship had passed a health screening prior to embarking.

“The crew member had traveled to Miami from Manila, via direct connection in Istanbul,” MSC Cruises said in a statement to the Times. “He developed symptoms of common flu and tested positive to Type A influenza after he visited the ship’s 24/7 Medical Center while already on board. He has no other symptoms.”

The ship, which is carrying more than 4,500 passengers and 1,600 crew members, is in the midst of a 15-day roundtrip sailing from Miami that had included scheduled stops in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Mexico, Bahamas, Belize and Honduras.

MSC Meraviglia isn’t the first ship to be turned away from port amid fears of the spreading coronavirus and likely won’t be the last. Tuesday’s unexpected hiccup comes just one week after MSC Cruises updated MSC Bellissima’s Grand Voyage itinerary to Asia.

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