THE NETHERLANDS – The Westerdam, a Dutch cruise ship refused entry to several Asian ports due to fear of the coronavirus, was allowed to dock in the Cambodian port of Sihanoukville. None of the passengers have been diagnosed with 2019-nCoV, but the ship was still refused due to concerns of the virus spreading. The European Ministers of Public Health are gathering in Brussels on Thursday to discuss how to prevent the virus from spreading in Europe, NOS reports.
The Holland America Line cruise ship has 1,455 passengers on board, including 91 Dutch. The Netherlands and the United States, among others, helped in the search for a place for the Westerdam to dock. On Wednesday, the ship received the green light that it could dock in Cambodia.
The passengers will be able to disembark within a few days and will not have to be quarantined, according to the broadcaster. They may be subjected to a short medical check by the Cambodian authorities, but according to the Dutch Ministry of Public Health, there is no reason to believe that the coronavirus will be found.
Fewer than 50 people are infected with the coronavirus in the European Union and no fatalities have been reported. Around 500 EU citizens who were in China have since been evacuated, including a total of 20 Dutch and a number of Chinese spouses who are currently still quarantined in the Netherlands.
During the meeting on Thursday, the Health Ministers will discuss how best to prevent the virus from spreading, whether medical instruments need to be purchased together to prevent shortages, and how to help other countries with poorer healthcare systems in place. The executive director of the World Health Organization Crisis Team will participate in the meeting via video call.