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“All we’ve got is to be hopeful”: Passenger on Westerdam cruise stranded over virus fears

For the past two weeks, American Angela Jones has been on a cruise to nowhere.

The business consultant from the U.S. state of Georgia together with a reported 2,256 others has been at sea on board the MSWesterdam, a cruise ship which has been turned away by Japan, Taiwan, Guam and the Philippines over fears that someone on thecruise may have the coronavirus – despite there being no confirmed cases.

The latest country to shun the ship is Thailand, where the health minister has publicly refused to grant the Westerdam permission to dock. 

“We try to stay hopeful, because that’s all we’ve got: to be hopeful. But each day, that becomes a little bit more difficult when country after country rejects us,” Jones told Reuters.

Food supply has become a concern for some passengers as it is thought to last until the end of the original schedule of the cruise’s trip, which is until Feb. 15.

Like many on board, Jones had embarked in Hong Kong for a much-anticipated cruise through the region.

It would be some of the last dry land she saw for weeks. 

On board the cruise ship, passengers joined various activities to pass time such as attending seminars and cooking.

Holland America, owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp, had said on Monday (February 10) that passengers would disembark in Bangkok on Thursday (February 13) and that there was no reason to believe anybody on board had the virus.

Thai Deputy Transport Minister Atirat Ratanasate said in a Facebook post on Tuesday (February 11) that while the ship would not beallowed to dock, Thailand “will gladly help in providing fuel, medicine, and food” to the ship.

(Production: Juarawee Kittisilpa)


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