Coronavirus: Belgians on Dutch cruise ship to be quarantined
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    Coronavirus: Belgians on Dutch cruise ship to be quarantined

    The Westerdam had sailed around Asian waters for about ten days, because several countries refused to allow it to dock. Credit: Jean-Philippe Boulet (CC by 3.0)

    The ten Belgian passengers who were on board of the Dutch cruise ship MS Westerdam, which was stuck at sea amid coronavirus fears, will be placed in quarantine in their homes once they are back in Belgium.

    The Westerdam had sailed around Asian waters for about ten days, because the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Thailand, fearing the coronavirus, refused to allow the cruise ship to dock. On Thursday morning, the ship was given access to the port of the Cambodian city of Sihanoukville.

    The measures were taken after an American passenger (83) on the cruise ship MS Westerdam was found to be infected with the coronavirus, Covid-19, despite Cambodian authorities initially reporting that the virus was not detected in anyone.

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    Eight Belgians who were on the ship are currently in a hotel in the Cambodian capital Pnom Penh, two others have already returned.

    “The risk of the Belgians catching the virus during their sea journey is estimated to be low,” said the FPS, but they will be placed in isolation at home and be closely monitored as a precaution, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.

    An 11th Belgian person on the cruise ship, a member of the crew, will remain on board, for the time being, reports Het Nieuwsblad.

    The Westerdam sails under the Dutch flag, but is owned by the American shipping company Holland America Line. The ship carried 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times