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Jakarta Post

334 Indonesian crew members aboard MS Westerdam declared virus-free, to continue cruising: Ministry

  • Apriza Pinandita and Dyaning Pangestika

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, February 22, 2020   /   09:43 am
334 Indonesian crew members aboard MS Westerdam declared virus-free, to continue cruising: Ministry The MS Westerdam cruise ship is seen past fishing boats as it approaches the port of Sihanoukville, near Cambodia's southern coast, on Feb. 13. The liner had received permission to dock there after being refused entry at other Asian ports due to fears of COVID-19. (AFP/Tang Chhin Sothy)

More than 300 Indonesian crew members who remain aboard the MS Westerdam docked in Cambodia have decided to continue working with the cruise ship following the disembarkation of all passengers after they tested negative for China’s coronavirus.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry confirmed on Friday that Cambodian authorities had given clearance for passengers and crew members of the cruise ship to go onward with their own journey after a reexamination found that none of those abroad the vessel had contracted the virus.

Foreign Ministry director for the protection of citizens and legal entities overseas Judha Nugraha said that the MS Westerdam was scheduled to continue cruising on Saturday.

“We have been informed that 334 Indonesian crew members have decided to continue working with the ship,” Judha said on Friday.

Previously, the government confirmed that there had been 362 Indonesian crew members aboard the MS Westerdam when the vessel docked in the Cambodian port of Sihanoukville on Feb. 13 after being turned away by five countries on fears that passengers could be carrying the virus.

[RA::Coronavirus: 362 Indonesians aboard Westerdam cruise ship healthy, minister says::

Concerns over the coronavirus spreading from inside the cruise ship have been mounting after a 83-year-old American woman – who had been a passenger on the ship – tested positive for the virus upon landing in Malaysia from Cambodia on Feb. 14.

The Foreign Ministry said all 362 Indonesians aboard the ship had been in healthy condition. Among the figure, some 27 of them have returned to Indonesia because their work contracts had expired and they had filled out health alert cards stating their good health. 

As of Friday – more than a month since the coronavirus emerged from Wuhan city in China – the death toll from the virus has surpassed 2,200 with more than 70,000 cases of infection reported worldwide. 

Indonesian authorities still claim that the country has zero coronavirus infections on its soil so far, though at least five Indonesian nationals are reported to have contracted the virus abroad. 

Four Indonesian crew members aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship anchored off Japan’s coast have tested positive for the virus and are currently under treatment. 

Meanwhile, one Indonesian worker in Singapore, who was admitted to a hospital after contracting the virus, was discharged and declared healthy on Tuesday.