Coronavirus: American woman from cruise ship Westerdam tests positive again in Malaysia

An American woman, who was a passenger on board the cruise ship MS Westerdam, tested positive for the coronavirus a second time since arriving in Kuala Lumpur.
An American woman, who was a passenger on board the cruise ship MS Westerdam, tested positive for the coronavirus a second time since arriving in Kuala Lumpur.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - An American passenger from a cruise ship docked in Cambodia has tested positive for the new coronavirus a second time in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia said on Sunday (Feb 16), after the cruise operator sought further tests.

Malaysia said on Saturday the 83-year-old woman who had been on board the MS Westerdam, operated by a unit of Carnival Corp, had tested positive for the virus after arriving in Kuala Lumpur from Cambodia. She was the first from the ship, which was carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew, to test positive.

But the cruise ship operator had sought more tests.

Cambodian authorities also called on Malaysia to review its test results.

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Waz Azizah Wan Ismail said on Sunday a retest was carried out on the American late on Saturday night and she tested positive again. Her husband tested negative.

The American woman had flown to Malaysia last Friday from Cambodia along with 144 others from the ship, according to the Malaysian health ministry.

Following the woman's first positive test, a number of passengers, including two Dutch citizens, were denied boarding for an Amsterdam-bound KLM flight departing from Kuala Lumpur, according to the Dutch foreign ministry.

The tourists who were kept from boarding KLM flight 810 are still in Malaysia. A number of Dutch citizens who were aboard the Westerdam have already returned to the Netherlands.

There are widespread fears that cruise ships around Asia may be spreading the virus. The biggest cluster outside China has been on the Diamond Princess, quarantined off Japan's Yokohama.

Out of about 3,700 passengers and crew on board, 355 people have tested positive as of Sunday evening.