Thailand will not allow a cruise ship from Japan to let passengers disembark at the Laem Chabang port, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Tuesday.
Mr Anutin posted a short Facebook message saying he has directed authorities not to allow the Westerdam ship to dock in Thailand.
The Bhumjaithai Party leader is the deputy prime minister in charge of transport.
The message was posted after the operator of the vessel announced on Monday the ship will let passengers off at the deep-sea port in Chon Buri on Thursday, Kyodo News reported.
The vessel carrying 1,455 passengers — including four Japanese nationals — and 802 crew members was scheduled to enter Naha Port in Okinawa prefecture on Saturday. But following Japan’s order, the plan was cancelled.
The Pattaya News notes that over 2000 passengers are stuck on the ship and this is the fourth country that has refused entry. No passengers have tested positive for the novel Coronavirus or show any signs of symptoms, however, increasing panic after another Cruise ship has had over a hundred cases of the virus in Japan has caused many countries to lockdown access to cruise ships out of concern of spreading the virus.
Regardless of the passengers and crew showing no signs of the virus or infections on the ship, when the announcement was originally made that the ship would disembark in Laem Chabang concerned social media users flooded Facebook asking for the vessel not to be let ashore.
The Westerdam had previously visited Hong Kong and parts of Japan. They did not visit the main affected provinces of China.
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