Hundreds of passengers from Westerdam cruise ship stuck in Cambodia
It was sweet relief when passengers of Holland America’s MS Westerdam were able to disembark after being turned away from several ports. However, things took a turn when a passenger from the ship was diagnosed with novel coronavirus on her journey home. As a result, hundreds of passengers as well as its crew members who are now docked in Cambodia are finding themselves in limbo once again.
According to the statement released by the Holland America Line, an 83-year-old American woman who departed from MS Westerdam later reported feeling ill upon checking in at Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia. She then tested positive for novel coronavirus. Fortunately, the passenger is in stable condition at a hospital in Malaysia.
On the other hand, not all passengers are lucky enough to have been moved to land. Lorraine Oliveira, MS Westerdam passenger from the United Kingdom, said that they are still onboard the cruise ship and expected to be there for a couple of days. But Lorraine together with her family just wants to go home now. Also, as per her statement, they are not being technically quarantined. All the other passengers have been informed to remain on board for the ease of communication.
To be exact, 255 passengers and 747 crews remain on board the MS Westerdam which docked in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. The cruise ship was previously turned down to dock to several ports namely Japan, Guam, Philippines, and Thailand even there’s no cases of the novel coronavirus during the voyage.
Those who were able to disembark are currently staying at the Sokha Hotel in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. They were given updates twice daily, 10 am and 2 pm, by the Holland America staff. Besides, there’s a US Embassy staff in the hotel lobby who keeps on posting updates and assists with procuring medicine.
As per Elly Chybowski, one of the passengers who were able to disembark said that their needs are being met. They are staying at a very comfortable accommodation and the staff is wonderful. Holland America also provides its guests with $50 stipend per person daily. Daily breakfast is also included in the hotel stay. Other passengers said that everything is a mess right now as they were advised to stay in their respective rooms and wait for further updates.
The director of operational medicine at the U.S State Department, Dr. William Walters released a statement that 260 American citizens are currently staying in the hotels in Cambodia and still pending for onward travel and 92 more are on board the MS Westerdam. Other passengers, around 300 Americans already left Cambodia after testing under their ministry of health.