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MS Westerdam’s remaining passengers and crew complete testing for COVID-19

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The MS Westerdam has a chequered history in cruise operations. Holland America

The MS Westerdam remains alongside in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, where officials from the Cambodian Health Ministry were on board Monday to complete testing for COVID-19 on the 255 guests and 747 crew that are awaiting clearance.

“We anticipate this will take several days and greatly appreciate the thoroughness of all authorities involved in resolving this situation. Meanwhile, guests at a hotel in Phnom Penh have all completed the COVID-19 screening. Results are being returned when completed, with the first batch of 406 all being negative. Cleared guests may travel home, and arrangements are being made for those guests,” the vessel owners, Holland America said in a statement.

It added that guests in both locations are being very well cared for, including assistance with any medications needed. A full team is on the ground in both Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh, including Holland America Line’s President Orlando Ashford.

One female guest remains in a hospital in Malaysia with a reported positive result for COVID-19 according to Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. She is currently in stable condition. Her traveling companion tested negative for COVID-19.

“We are in close coordination with some of the leading health experts from around the world,” said Dr. Grant Tarling, Chief Medical Officer for Holland America Line. “These experts are working with the appropriate national health authorities to investigate and follow-up with any individuals who may have come in contact with the guest.”

Holland America Line said that it continues to work closely and in compliance with government and health officials in Malaysia and Cambodia, as well as experts in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

“At this time, no other guests or crew on board or at the hotel have reported any symptoms of the illness. Guests who have already returned home will be contacted by their local health department and provided further information.”

The vessel owner stressed that prior to arrival in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, Holland America Line undertook significant precautions to ensure the health and safety of guests and crew. On Feb. 10, 2020, all 2,257 passengers and crew were screened for illness including the taking of individual temperatures.

No individual at that time was identified with an elevated temperature. Guests who were able to disembark in Cambodia underwent additional health screening and temperature checks. Furthermore, the passports of everyone on board were reviewed to ensure no one had traveled through mainland China in the 14 days prior to the cruise.

During the voyage there was no indication of COVID-19 on the ship. The guest who tested positive did not visit the ship’s medical center to report any symptoms of illness. An additional 20 guests who reported to the medical center during the cruise were tested by health officials for COVID-19, and all results were confirmed negative.

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