Coronavirus: US passenger from Westerdam cruise ship tests positive twice in Malaysia
- The 83-year-old woman flew to Malaysia after disembarking from the ship in Cambodia. She was found to have coronavirus
- The Westerdam had been stranded at sea for two weeks after being blocked by five places over virus fears, until Cambodia allowed it to dock
On Sunday, the ministry insisted that it had correctly diagnosed coronavirus after conducting a second test.
The woman and her 85-year-old husband were the only ones of the 145 to show symptoms of the Covid-19 disease, said the ministry, adding that her husband had tested negative.
The ship, which had 1,455 passengers and 802 crew on board, arrived at the port of Sihanoukville early on Thursday morning to allow Cambodian officials to board and collect samples from passengers with any signs of ill health or flu-like symptoms.
Malaysian health authorities on Saturday said the US couple was discovered to have “symptoms” during airport screenings.
Cambodia urged Kuala Lumpur on Sunday to “double-check” the diagnosis, but Malaysian deputy prime minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the 83-year-old American woman had already been tested twice.
“Our protocol is actually world-class … it’s a positive,” she told a press conference.
The American couple were among 405 cruise passengers who, after disembarking on Friday, boarded charter flights to either Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, or to Kuala Lumpur.
As of Saturday afternoon, more than half the 2,257 people on board had disembarked the cruise ship, a Cambodian official said.
At least 835 people disembarked on Saturday and flew out of Cambodia.
Due to the large number of passengers involved, the entire disembarkation process was expected to take at least three days to complete, according to a Cambodian official.
In a dockside news conference on Saturday while passengers were disembarking, US Ambassador W. Patrick Murphy said there were more than 600 people on board the Westerdam who were American citizens.
British passenger John Stanley said that in addition to the Americans, there had been about 150 people aboard from the UK, along with other travellers from Australia, Canada, France the Netherlands and Germany.
The European Union Delegation to Cambodia said there were 260 EU citizens from 20 different EU members states aboard the Westerdam.
Additional reporting by dpa