MOSCOW, February 18. /TASS/. Russian passengers from the Westerdam cruise ship have tested negative for the novel coronavirus, the Russian embassy in Cambodia said in a statement on Facebook on Tuesday.
"On February 18, the results came in for the medical tests of 406 passengers from the MS Westerdam cruise ship, including four Russian nationals. All of them have tested negative for COVID-19," the statement reads. "These tourists are expected to receive certificates on the matter later today, after which the time and routes for their flights home will be determined," the embassy added.
On February 17, a tourist named Alexei Dmitriyev told TASS that the Russians had not been infected with the new coronavirus.
The Westerdam cruise ship carrying 1,455 passengers, including seven Russians, departed Hong Kong on February 1 and was expected to visit a number of Japanese ports. However, Japan refused to allow the ship to dock for fear that someone on board might have the coronavirus. The Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand also turned the ship away. After being stranded at sea for over a week, the Westerdam finally disembarked in Cambodia with the permission of the country’s authorities.
Under these circumstances, the Westerdam’s cruise operator cancelled a cruise set to begin in Japan’s Yokohama on February 29.
In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, central China. Coronavirus cases have also been reported in 25 other countries, including Russia.
According to Chinese authorities, about 72,400 people have been infected with the virus in the country. The death toll is nearing 1,900, while 12,500 patients have recovered.
The WHO declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus a global health emergency and named the virus COVID-19.