The Costa Fortuna, an Italian cruise ship that was denied docking at both Phuket, Thailand, and Penang, Malaysia, is now on its way to Singapore, according to the Agence-France Presse (AFP).
Thailand and Malaysia banned the Costa Fortuna from entry over fears of a further spread of the novel coronavirus that originated from Wuhan, a city in central China, and has infected around 110,000 people all over the globe, with a death toll of over 3,700. The vessel, which has a capacity for over 4,000 people including its crew, has no confirmed cases.
Costa Crociere clarifies that there is no suspect case on board Costa Fortuna. Disembarkation in Pukhet has not been possible due to restrictions imposed in the last hours by Thailandese authorities on Italians that have transited in Italy in the last 14 days.
— Costa Press Office (@Costa_Press) March 6, 2020
Dozens of Italians are on board the ship, which may be one of the reasons why Thai and Malaysian authorities did not allow the Costa Fortuna to dock. Italy has over 7,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with over 360 deaths.
Outside China, Italy has the highest number of deaths from Covid-19.
The vessel was turned away from Phuket on Friday (March 6) and from Penang the following day (March 7).
Costa Cruises said that travel restrictions have been imposed on Italian nationals that “have transited in Italy in the last 14 days” by officials in Thailand.
Malaysian officials say that there are 64 Italians on board the Costa Fortuna.
And while none of the Italians on board are suspect cases for Covid-19, authorities in Thailand and Malaysia are wary of granting them entrance into their countries as the virus can incubate in a person for two weeks, or possibly even longer, even without symptoms.
When the ship endeavored to dock in Penang it was barred from doing so, since Malaysian authorities have decided to restrict entrance from all of the ports around the country to all cruise ships.
State exco member Phee Boon Poh told AFP that the Costa Fortuna would then head for Singapore.
May passengers and crew members who were on cruise ships during the time of the coronavirus outbreak have gotten stuck on board for longer than they bargained for. Experts have called cruises a ‘petri dish’ for the coronavirus as people on board have been confined in close proximity.
On the Japanese cruise ship Diamond Princess, over 600 people were infected with Covid-19, and six have since succumbed to the disease.
The Grand Princess, which belongs to the same operator as the Diamond Princess, is now moored off of the California coast, as 21 people on board have been confirmed positive for the coronavirus.
President Donald Trump announced that he did not want to bring the infected people onto US soil. -/TISG
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