Remaining MS Westerdam passengers test negative

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The remaining 781 passengers of the MS Westerdam had their Covid-19 tests come back negative. Hun Sen Facebook

Tests conducted on the remaining 781 passengers of the MS Westerdam for Covid-19 came back negative, the Ministry of Health confirmed on Wednesday.

It also noted that the last 233 passengers to disembark the MS Westerdam are now in Phnom Penh after they were transported there in buses arranged by the ministry.

The Ministry of Tourism said that, upon disembarkation, those 233 passengers were greeted by Transport Minister Sun Chanthol and Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line, the owner of the MS Westerdam.

All recently-tested passengers from the MS Westerdam were in good health and high spirits, the Ministry of Health said.

No one had signs of fever, it noted, adding that health checks were conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pasteur Institute of Cambodia and embassies.

“The Ministry of Health and the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Health Department are now working with relevant national and international institutions to facilitate the travel plans for the rest of the passengers so that they can return to their families as soon as possible,” it said.

The Ministry of Tourism on Wednesday organised a traditional dance performance for passengers staying at the Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel.

“To relieve their boredom while waiting for their flights, MS Westerdam cruise ship passengers at Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel will be treated to an Apsara dance show,” said Minister of Tourism Thong Khon.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen met with Ashford, who thanked him and the Cambodian people for welcoming the cruise ship and carrying out medical checks on the passengers, a post on Hun Sen’s Facebook page said.

Ashford told Hun Sen that the last passengers will soon be leaving Cambodia for their home countries.

Hun Sen applauded Holland America Line for taking good care of passengers and efficiently coordinating with local authorities.

Also on Tuesday, Hun Sen met with US Ambassador Patrick Murphy to talk about rescue work for the MS Westerdam passengers.

At the meeting, Murphy praised the decision to have the ship docked. Hun Sen told Murphy that the decision was taken to avert a humanitarian crisis.

Most of MS Westerdam’s crew will return to the Philippines on the ship.