The Jakarta Post
The government has confirmed that 362 Indonesians working as crew members aboard the MS Westerdam cruise ship docked in Cambodia are in a healthy condition following reports that a former passenger tested positive for the new coronavirus.
“Indonesians account for most of the crew members on the ship. When the ship anchored, they have been confirmed to be in a healthy condition,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told journalists on Monday.
Twenty-seven of the 362 Indonesians had returned to Indonesia as their work contracts with the cruise ship had expired, she said.
“At first, there were 60 people whose work contracts had already finished and who said they would come home,” Retno said, “However, some of them later extended their contracts, leaving only 27 people who returned to Indonesia,” Retno said.
She said the government had also ensured that the 27 citizens who returned were in good health upon arriving in the country and that they filled out their health alert cards.
“When they arrived, they were all checked by a team from the Health Ministry,” Retno said.
The Malaysian health ministry previously reported that an 83-year-old American woman, who had been a passenger on the ship, tested positive for the virus, officially named COVID-19, upon landing in Malaysia from Cambodia on Friday.
She flew there along with 144 others from the ship, including her 85-year-old husband who had tested negative for the virus, Reuters reported.
The MS Westerdam — carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members — docked in the Cambodian port of Sihanoukville on Thursday after being turned away by five countries on fears that passengers could be carrying the virus.
The cruise ship, which is operated by Carnival Corp unit Holland America Inc, previously spent two weeks at sea.
The infected American woman is now under observation at a hospital while her husband is also being monitored.
Holland America said on Sunday it was in "close coordination" with Malaysian and Cambodian officials alongside experts from the World Health Organization and the United State Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AFP reported.
Retno also confirmed on Monday that 78 Indonesian crew members aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship — which has been quarantined since Feb. 4 in Japan — were in healthy condition during the two-week observation period, which is scheduled to end on Wednesday.
Japanese authorities confirmed on Monday that a total of 454 people abroad the cruise ship had tested positive for the virus, AFP reported.
Since it first emerged from the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December, COVID-19 has killed nearly 2,000 people, including five outside of mainland China. The virus has spread to nearly 30 countries, with more than 70,000 people infected globally.