Holland America Cruise Ship Will Dock After Being Rejected Over Coronavirus Fears

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.
February 10, 2020Updated: February 10, 2020

Holland America’s Westerdam cruise ship has received permission to disembark at a port in Thailand after it was denied entry by several Asian ports as fears of the coronavirus continue to escalate.

The Seattle-based cruise operator confirmed that the Westerdam is sailing for Laem Chabang in Bangkok before disembarking on Thursday.

“All guests will be disembarking in Bangkok for their forward flights home. This new schedule has been communicated to guests on board,” Holland America said in a statement.

The ship was denied entry in ports in Japan, the Philippines, and Taiwan. Holland America disputed reports that a passenger on board the Westerdam had contracted coronavirus.

“The ship is not in quarantine and we have no reason to believe there are any cases of coronavirus on board despite media reports,” the operator said. “We have also received a letter from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment affirming that they have full confidence in all our medical reporting and the quality of our medical staff and services on Westerdam.”

Michael Parry, a passenger, told the Detroit Free Press that people have had to get their temperatures checked before they disembark. Parry said that there were concerns raised after the Westerdam stopped in Hong Kong.

Last week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claimed that at least one person on the Westerdam is suspected of being infected with coronavirus.

Japan cruiseship quarentined Diamond Princess 1
Cruise ship Diamond Princess is anchored off the shore of Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan, on Feb. 5, 2020. (Hiroko Harima/Kyodo News via AP)

“Based on the immigration control law, we will refuse non-Japanese on the ship entry, unless there are exceptional reasons,” he said, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Another cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, is being held in medical isolation after a passenger from Hong Kong was confirmed to have contracted the virus. Japanese health officials announced Monday that 135 people were infected with coronavirus.

Princess Cruises confirmed 66 new patients, including 45 from Japan, 11 Americans, four Australians, three Filipinos, and one each from Canada, Britain, and Ukraine.

Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program, told reporters this month that cruise ships are excellent transmitters of illnesses.

“A cruise ship is a very particular environment in which you can have higher levels of transmission even with a virus that isn’t very efficient with transmission,” he said. “That’s not to say this virus won’t gain more efficiency or spread more.”

In the United States, so far, health officials have confirmed 12 cases of coronavirus in California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Washington state.

The Chinese regime, in an attempt to curb the spreading of the virus, has lockdowns and travel restrictions on numerous cities. The virus is believed to have originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province.