The government of Guam has denied entry to a cruise liner carrying passengers who recently boarded in Hong Kong and may be infected with coronavirus.
The M.S. Westerdam has now been denied entry by three nations and the ship remains in search of a port of call.
The M.S. Westerdam is carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members.
The vessel was scheduled to dock in Yokohama on Feb. 5 but the Japanese government yesterday notified the Holland American line cruiser that it would not allow the Westerdam to call at any Japanese port.
Earlier in the week, the ship was denied a call in the Philippines due to concerns raised by that country’s health authorities.
And now the government of Guam has refused entry to the vessel, despite a request from the U.S. State Department to GovGuam to allow it to dock on island.
Holland American says the ship is not in quarantine and there are no known cases of coronavirus onboard.
However, the Seattle-based cruise liner recently stopped in Hong Kong and boarded approximately 800 passengers.
Japan, the Philippines, and Guam are all concerned that some passengers may be infected with the novel coronavirus, posing a potential risk to the citizens in all three jurisdictions and requiring the need for a large quarantine.
Acting Governor josh Tenorio, after consulting with Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero who is in Washington D.C., issued a statement saying:
“While we feel for every soul on board the MS Westerdam, our obligation is to protect the people of Guam. Though Guam is prepared to deal with the potential implications of the coronavirus, few jurisdictions can screen, quarantine, or treat 1,400 patients at one time.”
The acting governor added: “We respect that Guam has a duty to the nation we love, but that duty cannot jeopardize the health and safety of our people.”
The release from the governor’s office notes that the vessel has enough food and fuel to sustain itself.
To date, there are no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Guam.