Thailand, Malaysia bar cruise ship over COVID-19 fears

Costa Fortuna ship with 173 Italians was blocked to enter in Phuket

  • Updated

Thailand and Malaysia have barred a cruise ship carrying about 2,000 people from docking due to fears about the novel coronavirus, an official said here on Sunday.

The Costa Fortuna was first turned away from the popular Thai holiday island of Phuket on Friday, despite there being no suspected virus cases aboard, The Bangkok Post reported citing the operator Costa Cruises as saying.

Thai authorities had imposed restrictions "on Italians that have transited in Italy in the last 14 days", Costa Cruises said on Twitter.

Cruise ship
Cruise ship (Representational picture) Pixabay

The ship is carrying 64 Italians, according to Malaysian officials.

The decision came after the Malaysian government issued a blanket ban on all cruise ships coming into the country due to the fast spreading novel coronavirus.

Penang Port Commission issued a circular to ship owners, agents, vessel owners, port authorities and terminal operators, citing the ministries which said all cruise vessels are temporarily restricted from entering any Malaysian port until further notice, Malaysia's Star newspaper said in a report on Friday night.

Malaysia and Thailand joins several countries which has banned cruise ships from entering their ports, including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan.

Related topics : Coronavirus