Cambodia on Wednesday allowed the remaining 233 passengers on board the Westerdam cruise ship to disembark after test results showed that none of them was positive for the COVID-19.

Cambodian Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line, the ship operator, flew from capital Phnom Penh to greet them at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS) in southwestern Sihanoukville when they left the ship. Speaking to reporters at the site, Chanthol said the passengers will travel to Phnom Penh for flights home, as the ship, with remaining 747 crew on board, will depart for Manila, the Philippines later.

“This is the last batch of 233 passengers who disembarked the ship. They will travel by buses to Sokha Hotel in Phnom Penh, and tomorrow, they will fly to their respective countries,” he said. “We’re thankful to the Cambodian government, the prime minister, and all the citizens of Cambodia for their warm welcome and allowing us to come here and dock, and allowing their safe transition home,” said Holland America Line President Ashford.

“We’re very grateful to all of you for the way you received our company and our guests.” He said Cambodia is a wonderful place, and people here treat visitors really well.”Personally, I’m going to come back with my family to spend some time here to get a chance to explore and enjoy the Cambodia’s hospitality,” he said.

The last-batch disembarkation came after the Ministry of Health said lab tests on the remaining Westerdam passengers had ended, and the results showed that none of them was positive for the COVID-19. “The samples of 781 Westerdam cruise ship passengers in Sihanoukville and in Phnom Penh had been tested (by the Pasteur Institute) and the results were negative for the COVID-19,” the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. Cambodia had provided retests to those remaining passengers after a passenger who had left Cambodia had been tested positive for COVID-19 while transiting in Malaysia. Malaysian health authorities identified her as an 83-year-old American. She is currently in stable condition, and her husband tested negative for the virus.

The Holland America Line said in a press release on Wednesday that the Westerdam will remain alongside in Sihanoukville for at least a few more days until testing is complete on the 747 crew members on board. Cambodia allowed the Westerdam, which had been denied entry to port by Thailand, Japan, China’s Taiwan, Guam and the Philippines due to fears over the COVID-19, to dock at its sea port of Sihanoukville on Feb. 13 and passengers had been allowed to disembark on Feb. 14 after 20 ill passengers had tested negative for the virus.The ship carried a total of 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members.



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