PortandTerminal.com, February 19, 2020
SEATTLE, WA – Holland America Line, the owner of MS Westerdam, has said that the Cambodian Ministry of Health has confirmed that ALL 781 of its guests have tested negative for COVID-19 and that this completed the guests’ testing.
That is terrifyingly fast to be making such an important announcement after Holland America and its parent company, Carnival Corp, track record in dealing with the crisis.
Remember that Holland America is owned by Carnival Corp. which serves nearly 11.5 million travelers a year, or roughly 50 percent of the global cruise market.
One of Carnival’s other cruise ships is the Carnival Princess, the cruise ship quarantined off of Japan. Passengers from that ship are being off-loaded now in a desperate attempt to stop more people on board from getting infected. As of today, a total of 542 COVID-19 cases from 25 countries and regions were confirmed on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Given their track record and what’s at stake, Holland America and its parent company Carnival Corp should know better than make hasty announcements like the one they made below yesterday.
This latest announcement comes from the same cruise line that falsely promised less than a week ago that “All guests on board are healthy and despite erroneous reports, there are no known or suspected cases of coronavirus on board, nor have there ever been.“
We now know that one passenger on board the ship did have Coronavirus, an 83-year old American woman. How and from whom she caught the virus though is still unknown. Given the way the virus has spread like fire on the Carnival Princess, it seems unlikely that the infected passenger on the Westerdam has not passed it on to others on board.
Nevertheless, after pulling into Cambodia on Feb. 13th, authorities in that country have seemingly managed the impossible. They have tested the remaining 781 passengers on board the vessel in record time and determined that they are free to travel home.
How could Cambodian authorities have tested that many passengers more quickly than Japan, China or the United States have managed to? It turns out that if you don’t do a very thorough job testing for the virus, you can get the tests done pretty quickly.
We already know that the 83-year-old American woman who tested positive on the Westerdam had been tested twice before she was confirmed to be Covid-19 (novel coronavirus) positive.
We also know that 5 countries (Guam, Philippines, Thailand, Japan and Taiwan) all had good reasons to NOT let the Westerdam disembark at their ports.
Holland America and its parent Carnival Corp. have been under enormous pressure due to the outbreaks of the virus on their cruise ships. Let’s pray that they have done the right thing by letting the Westerdam passengers go home so quickly.
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