Australia Confirms Its Welcome to Westerdam Cruise Ship’s  Passengers

AKP PhnomPenh, February 21, 2020 —

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) is no longer recommending passengers from the Holland America Westerdam cruise ship undertake 14 days of self-isolation on return to Australia to manage novel coronavirus (COVID-19), according to a press release AKP received this afternoon.

State and territory health authorities are now contacting passengers to advise them of this updated public health advice, it said.

This advice – which aligns with the United States’ Centres for Disease Control and Prevention – is made on the basis that significant testing of passengers has not led to any further cases beyond the one initial passenger, it added.

Cambodian authorities have tested large numbers of Westerdam cruise ship travellers who are still in Cambodia and all have tested negative to date, the press release continued.

“The AHPPC has concluded, like our colleagues in the United States, these passengers present a low risk of COVID-19 and the proportionate response is to remove the restrictions,” it said.

The AHPPC made its original decision out of an abundance of caution to protect the Australian public’s health.

“Like all of our decisions so far, this was based on the best medical advice at the time and on the basis of a positive case on the ship. Self-isolation in Australia allowed time for further testing and a better understanding of the situation for passengers from the Westerdam,” it underlined.

Westerdam’s passengers were allowed to disembark the ship at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port on Feb. 14, 2020. They were warmly welcomed at the port by Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen.

By Khan Sophirom