Preparations made for transit passengers from Westerdam cruise ship

The MS Westerdam, owned by Holland America Line, sails off a port of Sihanoukville, Cambodia, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. Holland America Line said the ship has been turned away by the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and Thailand, though its operator said no cases of the disease have been confirmed among the more than 2,200 passengers and crew. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

The Thai Public Health Ministry is coordinating with relevant agencies to prepare for the arrival in Thailand of passengers and crew members from the MS Westerdam cruise ship, connecting with flights back to their home countries.

The Holland-American’s cruise ship, with more than 2,400 passengers and crew members on board, docked at Sihanoukville seaport this morning after it had been turned away by the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, Guam and Thailand.

The Cambodian government has allowed all on board to disembark and it is speculated that most, if not all the passengers, will choose to return home and most air travel from Cambodia must transit in Bangkok for connecting flights to destinations beyond.

Some of the passengers are expected to travel over land from Cambodia to Bangkok.

Health officials at border crossings with Cambodia and at airports will screen all the passengers and crew to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

Officials will also take care of the 21 Thai citizens from the cruise ship, who are expected to head for home after arriving in Cambodia.

Another Chinese tourist, who was treated for COVID-19 infection in Thailand, has fully recovered and returned to China, Disease Control Department director-general Dr. Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai told a news conference today.

Of 33 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Thailand since January 3rd, a dozen have been discharged from hospital and returned home, leaving 21 others, mostly Chinese, still in hospital.

From January 3rd to February 12th, 823 people have been placed under observation, including 53 who were screened at airports and 770 who voluntarily sought examination and observation. Of these, 673 of them were diagnosed with seasonal flu and have returned home.

The Ministry of Public Health, the National Research Office and the Public Health Science Faculty of Chiang Mai University have jointly developed an online self-screening form, in Thai, English and Chinese, so the public can check their risk of being infected with COVID-19. The form is available at:

Of the 138 Thai citizens evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan on February 4th, only one was confirmed to be infected and is isolated in Chon Buri Hospital, but his condition has improved, with no fever, cough or runny nose. The other 137 are fine but still under observation at a guest house in the Sattahip naval base.


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