KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia and Thailand have barred a cruise ship carrying about 2,000 people, including dozens of Italians, from docking despite there being no coronavirus cases on board.
The Costa Fortuna is now en route to Singapore, said the cruise line's operator Costa Crociere, or Costa Cruises, in a statement on Saturday.
It added: "Costa Crociere specifies that the health situation on board does not present any issue and that there are no suspect cases among Italians or other guests of different nationalities."
The New Paper contacted the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore on what action is being planned when the ship arrives here, but it said it was unable to reply by press time.
The ship was first turned away from the popular Thai holiday island of Phuket on Friday, despite there being no suspected virus cases aboard, according to its operator.
The Thai authorities had imposed restrictions "on Italians that have transited in Italy in the last 14 days", Costa Cruises said on Twitter.
The ship is carrying 64 Italians, according to Malaysian officials.
Italy has been hard hit by the virus with more than 230 fatalities, the most deaths from the disease of any country outside China, where the outbreak began in December.
On Saturday, the vessel tried to dock in the northern Malaysian state of Penang but was also refused entry, Penang politician Phee Boon Poh told AFP.
The decision was taken as Malaysia had decided to restrict entry of all cruise ships to the country's ports, he said.
Malaysia's The Star newspaper also reported a ban had been imposed.
In the US, cruise ship Grand Princess was held at sea and barred from returning to San Francisco last week after a coronavirus outbreak aboard the vessel.
A total of 21 crew members and passengers had tested positive.
Fortunately for some 2,400 passengers and 1,100 crew members, the four-day wait out at sea came to an end yesterday.
It was directed to the nearby port of Oakland, the cruise line said on Saturday, presumably to be placed under quarantine.
Princess Cruises said its information about the ship's revised destination came from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, which is coordinating the operation with state and local officials.
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