Thailand's government has turned away a Holland America cruise ship on Tuesday, just hours after the firm announced that it would be able to disembark in Bangkok-making it the fifth time a country or territory has denied it entry amid fears that someone on board might have coronavirus.
Passengers on board the ship have been subjected to regular health checks, according to Holland America - a unit of Miami-based Carnival Corp.
"I have issued orders". But the ship is back in limbo after Thailand Public Health Minister Anutin Charnverakul shared on Facebook Monday afternoon that it would not be allowed to dock after all.
The message was posted after the operator of the vessel announced yesterday (Feb 10) the ship will let passengers off at the deep-sea port in Chon Buri on Thursday (Feb 13), Kyodo News reported.
In its statement, Holland America reiterated that "all guests on board are healthy and despite erroneous reports, there are no known or suspected cases of coronavirus on board, nor have [there] ever been".
The cruise ship has been rejected by Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, and the USA territory of Guam, but Holland America said there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus, known as COVID-19, on the Westerdam.
The ship's operator has said it has no reason to believe there are any cases of coronavirus on board.
The Westerdam ship has since been given the green light to dock in Cambodia.
On board a U.S. cruise ship that is being rejected at Asian ports over coronavirus fears, stoic passengers are keeping spirits up with poolside yoga, spin classes, comedy shows and a few drinks.
At least 39 people tested positive for the coronavirus on the Diamond Princess today, along with one quarantine officer, bringing the total of passengers from that ship to 174, not including the quarantine officer.
The ship is now off the southern coast of Vietnam.
Thai Deputy Transport Minister Atirat Ratanasate wrote on social media that the ship cannot dock in the country, but he said Thailand "will gladly help provide fuel, medicine, and food" so the Westerdam can "reach its destination safely". Officials said it would take time to work out where they could be sent. It was denied entry by Taiwan and Okinawa, Japan, and had been seeking a port to dock at.
The 1,455 passengers and 802 crew on board the unwanted Holland America liner now face an agonising wait for information while the crew tries to find a solution.
A total of 78 United Kingdom passport holders - including crew - were among those who boarded the ship, sources told the PA news agency.
The ship's next cruise, which was due to start on February 15, has been cancelled.
The latter initially granted the ship permission but then backflipped amid concerns over coronavirus, which has infected more than people 45,000 people, predominantly in China. "I'm in the salon having my hair done right now and getting ready to hit the buffet", Christina Kerby said on Twitter, where her photos of yoga or posts on morning spin classes have bounced around.