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American tourist who disembarked from cruise in Cambodia tests positive for COVID-19 in Malaysia

American tourist who disembarked from cruise in Cambodia tests positive for COVID-19 in Malaysia

A Malaysian health officer screens arriving passengers with a thermal scanner at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on Jan 21, 2020. (Photo: AFP/MOHD RASFAN)

KUALA LUMPUR: An American woman who entered Malaysia after disembarking from a cruise ship in Cambodia was the latest person to be diagnosed with COVID-19 in the country on Saturday (Feb 15). 

The Malaysian Health Ministry said in a statement that the patient, who is 83 years old, was among the passengers aboard a cruise that docked in Cambodia on Thursday. 

“The Cambodian government allowed all passengers and crew members to return to their home countries after announcing that health screening had been carried out on them,” said Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah. 

Out of the 145 passengers of the said cruise who flew to Malaysia on Friday, the woman and her husband were found to be symptomatic upon arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport and were referred to the Sungai Buloh Hospital for further checks, he said. 

The patient tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday and is now in a stable condition, said Dr Noor Hisham.

The test result for her 85-year-old husband, meanwhile, was negative. He is being warded and observed at the same hospital, Dr Noor Hisham added. 

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Malaysia to 22. 

READ: 67 more coronavirus cases on Japan cruise ship

READ: Singapore confirms 5 new cases of COVID-19; 1 more patient discharged

The statement did not specify which cruise liner the woman had travelled on. 

There have been instances of cruise ships stuck at the sea since the virus outbreak triggered fears of a global pandemic. 

A Princess Cruise Line’s ship, the Diamond Princess, has become the largest single cluster of cases outside China, with more than 200 people tested positive for the virus. The vessel is being quarantined off Japan’s coast.

Cruise ship MS Westerdam, which carried 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members, was turned away by five countries. It was finally permitted to dock at the Cambodian port city of Sihanoukville on Thursday, in a move praised by World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as an example of "international solidarity".

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen was on hand to receive and greet the passengers on Friday. 

READ: Passengers on ship turned away over virus fears disembark in Cambodia

Cambodia’s health ministry said no one on board was found to be carrying the virus after tests.

Source: CNA/hm


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