More updates on the coronavirus: Holland America Line’s Westerdam is headed toward a new port, more cases have been confirmed on the Diamond Princess and American Airlines has extended its flight cancellations to China.
Holland America Line reports that the Westerdam is now sailing for Sihanoukville, Cambodia, where the current cruise will end. The ship is scheduled to arrive at 7:00 a.m. local time on Thursday, February 13, after which the line says it will remain in port for “several days” for disembarkation. Guests will be able to go ashore.
All guests onboard are healthy, Holland America said, and there are no known or suspected cases of coronavirus onboard.
“All approvals have been received and we are extremely grateful to the Cambodian authorities for their support,” the cruise line said in a written statement.
Guests will disembark in Sihanoukville over the next few days and transfer via charter flights to Phnom Penh for forward travel home, Holland America said. The cruise line will arrange and pay for all flights home, in addition to a full cruise refund and 100 percent future cruise credit.
Future voyage plans are still being finalized; the February 15 cruise that had been scheduled to embark in Yokohama, Japan, has been cancelled, and the line is assessing the impact of current port restrictions in Asia on cruises departing February 29 or later.
The Westerdam was on a 14-day cruise that departed Hong Kong February 1. The cruise line attempted to shift the sailing’s disembarkation port from Shanghai to Yokohama, and later to Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand, only to be barred by public health authorities in the two ports.
Princess Cruises, meanwhile, has confirmed that there have been 39 new cases of the coronavirus onboard the Diamond Princess, which is currently under quarantine in Yokohama until February 19.
"We are following guidance from the Japan Ministry of Health on plans for disembarkation protocols to provide medical care for these new cases,” the cruise line said in a written statement. “Additional information will be shared as soon as it is made available to use by the Ministry of Health.”
The cruise line has been working to provide quarantined guests with complimentary Internet and phone access, as well as additional entertainment options, over the course of the quarantine.
Air Travel Updates
The virus also continues to make its impact felt on air travel; most recently, American Airlines has announced it will extend its suspension of flights to and from mainland China and Hong Kong from its Dallas – Fort Worth and Los Angeles hubs, citing a reduction in demand.
- Flights between DFW/LAX and the mainland China are suspended through April 24.
- Flights between DFW and Hong Kong (HKG) are suspended through April 23.
- Flights between LAX and HKG are suspended through April 24.
Delta has suspended all flights to China through April 30, while United Airlines has suspended its flights through March 28. All three airlines are offering refunds to customers on cancelled flights.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially named this coronavirus COVID-19. In its latest update, the organization said that there have been no new cases reported within the past 24 hours. There are currently over 43,100 cases worldwide in 25 countries. There have been 1,018 deaths from the disease thus far, all but one in China.