Thailand becomes the latest country to turn away Westerdam cruise ship as it bars passengers from disembarking despite no cases of coronavirus on board
The Westerdam, pictured above, has also been turned away by the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. Its owner Holland America Line says there are no coronavirus cases on-board.
The chief of the Department of Disease Control Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai said Tuesday that the Public Health Ministry had rejected a request from the crew of the MS Westerdam to dock at Laem Chabang in eastern Thailand.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chano-cha confirmed the ban but said Thailand was looking a way to give humanitarian assistance and will be able to provide the ship with necessities such as fuel and food.
The Westerdam began its cruise on January 16 in Singapore. Shipowner Holland America Line says there are no known cases of the virus on board.
Thai Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakulhad indicated on his Facebook page several hours before the official announcement that the ship would be denied entry.
The Westerdam, shown by the yellow ship, is currently rounding the bottom of Vietnam and heading towards Thailand
He posted his declaration after Holland America announced it was sailing to Laem Chabang, where passengers would disembark on February 13 to take flights home from Bangkok. The announcement by the shipowner attracted much attention among Thai social media users.
Holland America had already announced that passengers would receive a complete refund. It said a scheduled departure of the Westerdam on Feb. 15 from Yokohama had been cancelled and planned departures after Feb. 28 were being assessed.