Coronavirus: Two Singaporeans from Westerdam cruise ship under quarantine here; no other passengers allowed in

The MS Westerdam, which left Hong Kong on Feb 1 for a 14-day cruise, spent nearly two weeks at sea after being turned away from at least five ports.
The MS Westerdam, which left Hong Kong on Feb 1 for a 14-day cruise, spent nearly two weeks at sea after being turned away from at least five ports.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Two Singaporeans from the MS Westerdam, which was allowed to dock at the Cambodian port of Sihanoukville after nearly two weeks at sea, have been quarantined in Singapore but no other passengers will be allowed in.

Mr Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force dealing with the current coronavirus outbreak, said on Monday (Feb 17) that the two passengers have been quarantined at home. "We are not allowing any more passengers from the Westerdam to come into Singapore or transit through Singapore," he told reporters.

Experts currently fear the passengers of the ship could be source of a global outbreak after Malaysia said an American woman from the ship who arrived in Kuala Lumpur on a chartered flight had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The MS Westerdam, which left Hong Kong on Feb 1 for a 14-day cruise, spent nearly two weeks at sea after being turned away from at least five ports.

The ship, carrying more than 2,000 passengers and crew members, received permission to dock at the Cambodian port of Sihanoukville on Feb 13. Passengers had been cleared to travel by Cambodian authorities after health checks.

Asked whether the ship had requested to dock in Singapore, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore on Thursday (Feb 13) referred The Straits Times to Holland America's statement on the MS Westerdam receiving clearance from Cambodian authorities to disembark in Sihanoukville. Marina Bay Cruise Centre, where the ship departed from on Jan 16, did not respond to queries on the same question.

The Singapore Tourism Board said on Thursday (Feb 13) that while Singapore's cruise terminals remain open, arriving ships must meet Singapore's entry requirements.

Foreign travellers who had visited mainland China within 14 days have not been allowed entry into or transit through Singapore since Feb 1.


Correction note: An earlier version of this article quoted Mr Lawrence Wong as saying that two Singaporeans from the MS Westerdam cruise ship are serving quarantine in a government quarantine facility. It has since been clarified that the two are on home quarantine.