A cruise ship carrying more than 2,200 passengers from Hong Kong on Tuesday was denied entry into Thailand amid coronavirus fears despite zero cases of an outbreak onboard.
Thailand's public health minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, announced on Facebook he had prohibited the ship's entry, according to The Bangkok Post and Reuters.
"I have issued orders. Permission to disembark refused," he wrote.
Nearly 600 passengers are reported to be American.
Thailand became the fifth country to deny entry to the Westerdam luxury liner, operated by Holland America Line. The ship departed from Hong Kong on Feb. 1 for a 14-day cruise to Taiwan and Japan.
The World Health Organization said Thai officials might board the ship to investigate the passengers' health conditions "to determine whether they would be allowed to eventually disembark in Thailand."
Thailand currently has 32 confirmed cases of the virus.
"We are aware of the reports regarding the status of Westerdam's call to Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand," the cruise line said in a statement provided to USA Today by Holland America's director of relations, Erik Elvejord. "We are actively working this matter and will provide an update when we are able. We know this is confusing for our guests and their families and we greatly appreciate their patience."
"We have no reason to believe there are cases of coronavirus on board," Erik Elvejord, Holland America's public relations director, said in an email Friday morning.
Due to the quarantine, "it was not unexpected that additional cases would be reported involving individuals who were exposed prior to the start of the quarantine," Princess Cruises said in a statement provided by Negin Kamali, director of public relations.
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