Coronavirus cruise passengers greeted with KISSES as they finally disembark after two weeks stranded on plague ship – The Sun

CORONAVIRUS cruise passengers were greeted with kisses as they finally disembarked after two weeks stranded on the plagued ship.

MS Westerdam – the cruise ship left stranded at sea after being denied permission to dock by five ports in Asia over coronavirus fears – docked at the port of Sihanoukiville, Cambodia, on Thursday.

Passengers were finally allowed to leave the ship on Friday, after 20 people on board suspected of having the deadly coronavirus tested negative.

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen greeted passengers with roses after agreeing to let the ship dock at the port on Thursday.

The ship, carrying more than 1,450 passengers and operated by Holland America Line, had previously been turned away from Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Guam.

As the first passenger stepped off the ship, Hun said: "Today, although Cambodia is a poor country, Cambodia has always joined the international community to solve the problems that the world and our region are facing.

"I want to inform Cambodians and the world that me coming here even for a short time means this is no time for discrimination and to be scared, but a time for everyone to be in solidarity to solve the problems we are facing now."

Joe Spaziani, a 74-year-old passenger from Florida, commemorated his released and told reporters: “Your country did a great job. Did a wonderful job. Thank you very much. We appreciate it very much.

“Cambodia alone, even the United States, Guam, did not let us land, but Cambodia did, so that’s wonderful.

"Absolutely wonderful. We appreciate it very very much. It’s been a long struggle and we appreciate everyone being here.”

"If Cambodia did not allow this ship to dock here, where should this ship go?

The celebratory disembarkation comes as a ship with more than 2,000 people on board has been put on lockdown in Sydney while a woman is tested for the deadly coronavirus.

The crisis follows the quarantine of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan on 9 Feb after 61 passengers on the ship were diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Officials ordered the remaining 3,700 to stay in their cabins to stop the virus spreading.

Coronavirus has so far killed 1,384 people and infected over 65,000 globally.

The number of people infected with the coronavirus in China rose sharply again yesterday with 5,090 new cases reported.

The disease first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan, in the Hubei province, in December.

"Clearly in Wuhan, the health system is under extreme pressure and so the first priority has to be the patient," said Mark Woolhouse of the University of Edinburgh.

Japan now has 252 confirmed cases, including 218 from a cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama. One person in Japan has died.

More than 560 cases have been confirmed outside mainland China, according to officials.

The hardest-hit cities in China have been placed under lockdown, an unprecedented move.

People are not allowed to enter or leave the cities.

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