Bangkok-Hanoi - Thailand has barred passengers from Holland America’s cruise ship MS Westerdam from disembarking, its health minister said on Tuesday, the latest country to turn it away amid fears of the coronavirus despite no confirmed infections on board.
The Netherlands-flagged ship was sailing in a westerly direction, 96 km (60 miles) off the southern coast of Vietnam on Tuesday morning, according to data from the Marine Traffic ship tracking website.
Holland America, owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp (CCL.N), had said on Monday that passengers would disembark in Bangkok on Feb. 13 and that there was no reason to believe anybody on board had the virus.
“I have issued orders. Permission to dock refused,” Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said in a Facebook post.
Deputy Transport Minister Atirat Ratanasate said in a separate Facebook post that, while the ship would not be allowed to dock, Thailand “will gladly help providing fuel, medicine, and food” to the ship.
The coronavirus that emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan last month has caused chaos in Asia and beyond with many flights suspended, businesses disrupted and entry restrictions imposed by governments trying to ward off the spread.
It has also roiled the world of luxury cruises.
Another cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, with 3,700 passengers and crew onboard, is quarantined in the Japanese port of Yokohama, with 135 cases of coronavirus detected on the Carnival Corp-owned (CCL.N) vessel.
The World Dream cruise ship was held up in Hong Kong for days after it was linked to three cases but all passengers and crew later tested negative and were allowed to disembark.
The virus has killed more than 1,000 people - all but two in China - and infected more than 40,000, most in China but including 319 cases in 24 other countries and territories.
The Westerdam had already been turned away from several countries, including Japan and the Philippines, amid fears of the virus.