No more passengers from Westerdam cruise ship allowed into Malaysia

The Westerdam cruise ship had docked in Cambodia last week. (AFP pic)

PETALING JAYA: The government will no longer allow any passengers on the Westerdam cruise ship from entering the country.

This comes after an 83-year-old American woman, who was a passenger on this ship, tested positive for Covid-19 after she flew into Malaysia.

The woman and her husband, who tested negative, are both being treated at the Sungai Buloh Hospital.

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad and other senior officers at the press conference on the Covid-19 outbreak.

They were among 145 passengers who had flown to Kuala Lumpur on Friday after the cruise ship Westerdam docked in Cambodia.

“The remaining passengers on the Westerdam cruise ship, who are still in Cambodia, will not be allowed into Malaysia as the passengers are assumed to have been in close contact with the case which has been confirmed positive,” said Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail at a press conference today.

Wan Azizah explained that the cruise line Holland American had chartered several Malaysia Airlines flights to repatriate the ship’s passengers, who would be flown home through Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia Airlines had planned four chartered flights between Feb 14 and 16, though only one flight, MH8763, which was carrying the 145 passengers, including the 83-year-old woman, arrived here.

“All 145 passengers who arrived, were screened and two of the passengers (the woman and her husband) showed symptoms on the thermal scanner and were brought to Hospital Sungai Buloh for further checks.

“The health ministry has informed Malaysia Airlines on the positive case and as such all other passengers on the flight are considered close contacts.”

Wan Azizah said Malaysia Airlines then decided to cancel the remaining chartered flights.

Another 137 passengers on the flight have flown to other destinations while six others are still awaiting connecting flights to other destinations.

These six, she said, will be tested for Covid-19. If they test negative, they will be allowed to continue with their journey.

“If they test positive, they will be brought to the hospital for further monitoring.”

Wan Azizah said that no new cases have been reported, while one Covid-19 patient, who was being treated at Hospital Permai, Johor Bahru, has fully recovered and has been allowed to go home.