Coronavirus Case Confirmed after Hundreds Leave Cruise Ship Westerdam

Westerdam in Cambodia. Image Courtesy: US Embassy Cambodia

A female passenger, who recently disembarked Holland America Line’s cruise ship Westerdam in Cambodia, tested positive for coronavirus in Malaysia.

Image Courtesy: US Embassy Cambodia

The woman, an American national, was stopped at the Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia and found infected with COVID-19, the US Embassy Cambodia said.

“One female guest remains in a hospital in Malaysia with a reported positive result for COVID-19 according to Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. She is currently in stable condition. Her traveling companion tested negative for COVID-19,” Holland America Line said in a separate statement.

“We are in close coordination with some of the leading health experts from around the world,” Dr. Grant Tarling, Chief Medical Officer for Holland America Line, explained.

“These experts are working with the appropriate national health authorities to investigate and follow-up with any individuals who may have come in contact with the guest.”

The coronavirus case was found after hundreds of cruise passengers have disembarked the cruise ship since Friday.

Last week, Cambodian authorities granted clearance to Westerdam to begin disembarkation of passengers in Sihanoukville.

Westerdam was allowed to dock in Cambodia after it had been banned from several other ports due to the coronavirus threat. Prior to arrival in  Sihanoukville, all 2,257 passengers and crew were screened for illness including the taking of individual temperatures. No individual at that time was identified with an elevated temperature, according to the cruise line.

Holland America Line added that guests who were able to disembark in Cambodia underwent additional health screening and temperature checks. Furthermore, the passports of everyone on board were reviewed to ensure no one had traveled through mainland China in the 14 days prior to the cruise.

During the voyage, there was no indication of the infection on board. The guest who tested positive did not visit the ship’s medical center to report any symptoms of illness. An additional 20 guests who reported to the medical center during the cruise were tested by health officials for COVID-19, and all results were confirmed negative.

“Westerdam remains alongside in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, where officials from the Cambodian Health Ministry are on board today to complete testing for COVID-19 on the 255 guests and 747 crew that are awaiting clearance,” Holland America Line informed on February 17, adding that the process is expected to take several days.