Wednesday, 19 February, 2020

Outcast cruise's ordeal ends after Cambodia welcomes ship

A Thai navy stealth frigate was sent to accompany MS Westerman A Thai navy stealth frigate was sent to accompany MS Westerman Credit reuters
Deanna Wagner | 15 February, 2020, 05:38

Cambodia has won praise for allowing passengers of the MS Westerdam cruise ship to dock at Preah Sihanouk port, thanks to Prime Minister Hun Sen's humanitarian act.

Outbreak of pneumonia caused by a coronavirus COVID-19, was launched in December of 2019 in the city of Wuhan in Central China.

"We also extend our deepest gratitude to President Trump, Cambodia's Honorable Prime Minister Hun Sen, Canadian Foreign Minister Champagne, elected officials across the country" and other countries for helping bring the passengers home, said CEO Stein Kruse in a statement.

"How wonderful it is to be here".

"Thank you Cambodia! You believed in us when no one would!" tweeted passenger Lydia Miller around 7 pm (1200 GMT).

Among the first Westerdam passengers to step off the ship was Anna Marie Melon, from Queensland, who lauded Mr Hun Sen.

Hun Sen told the media that he authorized the arrival of the ship in Cambodia at the request of the USA embassy and that he would have done so even if some passengers had tested positive for COVID-19.

"Cambodia alone, even the United States, Guam, did not let us land, but Cambodia did, so that's wonderful. We appreciate it very much", Joe Spaziani, 74, from Florida, told local reporters at the port. "We appreciate it very, very much".

On Thursday, Cambodia allowed the MS Westerdam to dock and disembark passengers and crew.

It said after disembarking, passengers would be transferred to Phnom Penh by charter flights and travel home afterwards.

112-year-old Japanese crowned world´s oldest male
The oldest person to have ever lived was Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived to be 122 and died in 1997. Watanabe was officially given the title at a nursing home in Niigata where he now resides.

The Westerdam Cruise ship will be docking in the southwestern Cambodian province of Sihanoukville reportedly on Thursday, days after it had been stranded on open seas.

Some 55 748 people are now undergoing treatment, while 1 380 people have died of the flu-like virus that emerged in Hubei province's capital, Wuhan, in December. On orders of the Central Military Commission, 11 transport aircraft of the People's Liberation Army Air Force sent medics and supplies.

The rise in China's reported cases on Thursday reflected a decision by authorities there to reclassify a backlog of suspected cases by using patients' chest images, and is not necessarily the "tip of an iceberg" of a wider epidemic, a top World Health Organisation official said on Thursday.

A strong supporter of China, Hun Sen has downplayed threats from the new virus and unlike other Asian nations, he declined to ban direct flights between Cambodia and China, saying that would disturb bilateral relations and hurt his country's economy.

Chamroeun said blood tests were done on 20 people due to reports that they had symptoms like typhoid and diarrhoea.

"This does not represent a significant change in the trajectory of the outbreak", said Mark Ryan, head of WHO's health emergencies program.

Just outside of China were infected 505 people.

The plight of the cruise ship off Japan with more than 200 coronavirus infections and the shunning of another luxury liner by five ports despite no known cases has led to a sharp change in tack for an industry in shock: avoid Asia.

It said three critically ill patients in the Jiangxia District of Wuhan received the treatment on February 8 and that now "more than 10" critically ill patients were being similarly treated. It is located in the waters of Yokohama port. Patients with liner transport in insulators hospital for treatment.