Permission to dock refused: The Westerdam luxury liner is in limbo after it was denied entry to port by yet another country as panic about the deadly coronavirus mounts. Thailand on Tuesday became the latest country to block the cruise ship’s passengers from disembarking. It had already been turned away by ports in Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, and the US territory of Guam. Operated by Holland America Line, the Westerdam departed from Hong Kong on February 1 for a 14-day cruise to Taiwan and Japan with 1,455 guests and 802 crew members on board, Holland America Line said. Beijing’s National Health Commission said on Tuesday that the coronavirus had infected more than 42,600 people and killed more than 1,000 people in China since it was first reported on December 31.
It is this soaring number of cases that has stoked fear among Thai officials, even though Holland America Line said last week that “the ship is not in quarantine and there are no known cases of coronavirus on board.” Thailand’s public health minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, directed officials to prevent the Westerdam’s passengers from getting off in Laem Chabang, writing on Facebook, “I have issued orders. Permission to dock refused,” Reuters reported. Deputy Transport Minister Atirat Ratanasate echoed the sentiment on Facebook but said the country was prepared to help the ship with food, medicine, and fuel, Reuters said. The World Health Organization offered some hope to weary travelers, saying in a statement to Bloomberg that Thai officials “may seek to board the ship to determine the health status of passengers and crew, to determine whether they would be allowed to eventually disembark in Thailand.” –Business Insider
Life imitating art in a very creepy fashion
In the television series of The Last Ship (which aired from 2014 to 2018) a global viral pandemic has wiped out over 80% of the world’s population, the crew (consisting of 218 people) of a lone unaffected U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, the fictional USS Nathan James (DDG-151), must try to find a cure, stop the virus, and save what’s left of humanity.