COVID-19: Two Singaporeans aboard Westerdam cruise ship serving quarantine - Lawrence Wong

Two Cambodian military helicopters are parked at the port where the MS Westerdam is docked in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. (PHOTO: AP)

*UPDATE at 5.35pm on 19 February 2020 to reflect the Ministry of National Development’s clarification that the two Singaporean passengers are on home quarantine, and are not in a government quarantine facility

SINGAPORE — Two Singaporean passengers who were aboard the MS Westerdam cruise ship are on home quarantine, said Lawrence Wong, co-chair of the multi-ministry taskforce on the COVID-19 coronavirus on Monday (17 February).

The National Development Minister was responding to a reporter’s question about the passengers on the Westerdam at a media conference held by the taskforce on the outbreak in Singapore.

"We are not allowing any other passenger from the Westerdam to come into Singapore or to transit through Singapore,” Wong said. 

His comments came after a passenger released from the ship later tested positive for the virus. The 83-year-old American woman had flown to Malaysia from Cambodia, which allowed the ship to dock after it was turned away elsewhere in Asia.

Five other Singaporeans are on board a separate quarantined cruise ship docked off Yokohama, Japan. The Diamond Princess accounted for 454 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, the second largest number outside of mainland China. It is reported to have around 3,700 passengers and crew members with about half of the passengers from Japan, according to Reuters.

The Singaporeans on Diamond Princess had reported that they are physically well, said a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson last Wednesday, in response to Yahoo News Singapore’s queries.

The Ministry of Health on Monday confirmed two new cases of the novel coronavirus in Singapore, bringing the total to 77.

As of Monday, more than 1,700 people have died of the virus in China, which has sickened over 71,000 people. 

COVID-19 has spread to 28 territories beyond mainland China. Five territories – Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, and France – have each reported the death of a patient infected with the virus.

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