Beijing, Feb 5 : Some 1,800 passengers and as many crew members on board the World Dream cruise ship cannot disembark at the Kai Tak terminal of Hong Kong until they are first be tested for the new coronavirus since the same ship carried infected individuals from mainland China on its previous voyage, media reported on Wednesday.
The cruise ship set off on Sunday but returned to Hong Kong after the Taiwanese authorities refused to let it dock. According to the Hong Kong's RTHK broadcaster, three passengers on the World Dream's previous cruise from January 19-24 later tested positive for coronavirus, and the authorities believe that there are currently about 200 people on board who had been in contact with them. A search for these individuals is reportedly underway.
The broadcaster said officials from the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection boarded the ship on Wednesday morning to carry out tests for some 1,800 passengers and 1,800 crew members, and it was not immediately clear how soon they would let people off the ship. RTHK cited the center's chief port officer Leung Yiu-hong as saying that three crew members were sent to public hospitals with a fever and more than two dozen others displayed various symptoms of infection, such as coughing.
The cruise company, in turn, reportedly said it had sealed off the rooms of the three infected passengers and isolated the staff whom it believed had been in contact with them. While fever and coughing are typical symptoms of the new deadly coronavirus, they may not show up during the initial incubation period. As such, the common international practice at the moment is to place suspected patients under a two-week quarantine to determine whether they are, in fact, infected. (SPUTNIK)