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No more passengers from infected cruise ship will be allowed to enter Malaysia: DPM

16 Feb 2020 / 18:15 H.

PETALING JAYA: The government will not allow more passengers of the Westerdam cruise ship from stepping into Malaysia.

This comes after an 83-year-old American woman, a passenger onboard, flew into Malaysia and tested positive for Covid-19. She and her husband (who tested negative), are being treated at the Sungai Buloh Hospital.

They were among 145 passengers who had flown into Kuala Lumpur on Friday after the cruise ship received the greenlight to dock in Cambodia after having been previously turned away by various countries.

“The remaining passengers on the Westerdam cruise ship, who are still in Cambodia, will not be allowed into Malaysia as the passengers are assumed to have been in close contact with the ‘case’ which has been confirmed positive,” said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail at a press conference today.

She said the American Embassy in Kuala Lumpur had chartered a Malaysia Airlines flight to ferry a group from the cruise ship to Malaysia.

The airline was said to have scheduled four flights, from Feb 14 to 16, to accommodate the Embassy’s charter deal. But only one - MH8763 - carrying 145 passengers, including the 83-year-old woman and her husband, arrived here.

“All 145 passengers who arrived onboard that flight were screened; two of them showed symptoms on the thermal scanner and were brought to Hospital Sungai Buloh for further tests,” the DPM said.

According to Wan Azizah, the health ministry has informed Malaysia Airlines about the positive case.

“As such all other passengers on the flight are considered close contacts,” she said.

Following this, the airline cancelled the three remaining chartered flights.

However, it was said that 137 of the 145 passengers who arrived here on MH8763, have boarded flights to other destinations. Six others are still awaiting connecting flights.

“These six will be tested for Covid-19. If they test negative, they will be allowed to continue with their journey. If found positive, they will be warded at the hospital and monitored,“ she said.

Meanwhile, Wan Azizah said that no new cases have been reported. One Covid-19 patient being treated at Hospital Permai, Johor Baru, has fully recovered and was allowed to return home.

To date, eight Chinese nationals in Malaysia have since recovered and been discharged.

Nevertheless, the Malaysian government has decided to bar any cruise ships that depart or transit from or to any port in China, from entering the country.

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