A CRUISE ship with 650 Americans on board that was stranded at sea for two weeks due to a coronavirus scare has finally been allowed to dock.
No cases of the deadly virus have actually been found on the MS Westerdam – but a 14th case has now been confirmed in the US.
The Westerdam cruise ship approaches port in Cambodia[/caption]
The ship with 2,200 aboard had been repeatedly rebuffed in other ports[/caption]
The cruise had been turned away by five countries before it arrived in Cambodia today to the relief of 1,455 passengers and 802 crew on board.
Officials revealed that 20 US passengers sparked a health scare on board the Holland America ship after suffering “abnormal health” and stomach problems.
But it has since been clarified that no passengers have contracted coronavirus – leading to a decision by the Cambodian government to let the ship dock.
Officials are checking the health of those aboard The Westerdam, which was turned away by Thailand, the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and Guam.
“Homeword bound! The #Westerdam is headed for Cambodia,” one passenger tweeted.
“Elated at the prospect of touching land tomorrow. Until then, I’ll work on my towel animals.”
American passenger Angela Jones said “we’ve had so many near moments we thought we were going home only to be turned away.”
“This morning, just seeing land was such a breathtaking moment.
“I thought: Is this real?”
Angela Jones is one of the Americans aboard the ship[/caption]
Health officials prepare to receive the passengers[/caption]
Twenty passengers on the ship had fallen ill[/caption]
The ship is docked in Sihanoukville, where passengers will be able to take charter flights to the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh before returning home.
“All approvals have been received and we are extremely grateful to the Cambodian authorities for their support,” the cruise line said in a statement.
About 20 passengers reported stomach ailments or fever, according to health officials in Cambodia, but they were considered to be normal illnesses.
The sick passengers were isolated from the rest of the passengers and crew.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus previously said he was pleased that Cambodia agreed to accept the ship.
“This is an example of international solidarity we have been consistently calling for,” the official said.
“Outbreaks can bring out the best and worst in people.”
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More than 1,000 people have died overseas from the coronavirus so far, and a 14th case was reported in the US yesterday.
The person was aboard a flight from the Chinese city of Wuhan that arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California last week.
The patient is in isolation at a San Diego hospital.
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