Asia

All cruises that depart from or transit in China will not be allowed to dock in Malaysia: DPM Wan Azizah

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PUTRAJAYA: All cruises originating from or had previously visited China will not be allowed to enter Malaysia in view of the COVID-19 outbreak, Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said on Sunday (Feb 16).

The decision came after an American passenger aboard MS Westerdam who disembarked in Cambodia tested positive for COVID-19 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on Saturday.

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“For the time being, the government has decided not to allow any cruise ship from, or transited at, any ports in China to enter Malaysia,” Dr Wan Azizah said.

MS Westerdam docked in Cambodia on Thursday carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members, after being turned away by Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines and Thailand.

READ: Four COVID-19 patients in Malaysia discharged from hospital

The American woman, 83, and her husband, 85, were among 145 passengers of MS Westerdam who flew to Malaysia on Friday.

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The couple was found to be symptomatic upon arrival and were sent to the Sungai Buloh Hospital, where the wife was diagnosed with COVID-19. The husband tested negative.

MS Westerdam's operator, Carnival Corp unit Holland America Inc, had described the test result as “preliminary” while Cambodian authorities called on Malaysia to review its test results.

In response, Dr Wan Azizah said the husband and wife were tested again late Saturday night, with the same results obtained.

“They say it could be a false positive. No," she said.

The passengers on board were reportedly tested regularly for the coronavirus and Cambodia had said that it had tested 20 passengers once it docked.

“We are not disputing (Cambodia's tests). But since the passengers reached us, we have to be careful. As for Cambodia, they did what they think was sufficient,” she said.

As a precautionary measure, all remaining MS Westerdam passengers who are currently still in Cambodia will not be allowed to enter Malaysia since they are considered to have had close contact with the American patient, the deputy prime minister said.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines has also cancelled the remaining three chartered flights booked by the United States Embassy in Malaysia to fly Westerdam passengers back home via KLIA.

The flights were scheduled to fly between Feb 14 and Feb 16. Only the firstRead More – Source