Cruise stranded by virus fears ends with roses in Cambodia

Posted at 3:22 AM, Feb 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-14 03:22:12-05

SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia (AP) — Hundreds of cruise ship passengers long stranded at sea by virus fears have finally disembarked and were welcomed to Cambodia by the nation's authoritarian leader who handed them flowers.

Prime Minister Hun Sen agreed to let the Westerdam dock after Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Guam barred the ship over fears it might spread a virus.

The passengers cheered as they walked toward buses to take them to the airport and waved goodbye to other passengers watching from the ship’s deck.

The Westerdam was unwelcome elsewhere even though operator Holland America Line said no cases of the COVID-19 illness have been confirmed among its passengers and crew.