Russia’s Vladivostok to keep accepting cruise ships despite coronavirus

Russia’s Vladivostok to keep accepting cruise ships despite coronavirus

Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok has no plans so far to close its port for cruise ships expected to visit it this year, despite the novel coronavirus outbreak in China, the regional authorities said on Tuesday, Trend with reference to TASS reports.

In 2020, a total of 15 cruise ships from Japan, South Korea and China are expected to make port calls in Vladivostok, including a ship that will serve as a floating hotel during the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).

The regional government’s press service said that it had "received no information about changes in the schedule of port calls in the region."

The 2020 cruise season will be opened by the Westerdam cruise ship, due in Vladivostok on April 19. Earlier, several Asian nations closed their ports for the vessel for fears of a coronavirus outbreak on board.

The Westerdam cruise ship with 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members sailed from Hong Kong on February 1 and was expected to call at several Japanese ports. These plans were canceled because of Japan’s objections out of fears that people who might have contracted the novel coronavirus could be aboard the ship. Subsequently, Thailand, the Philippines and Taiwan also barred the ship from entering their ports. The vessel that had spent more than a week at sea trying to reach any Asian port and was ultimately allowed to call at Cambodia’s Sihanoukville. Passengers started to leave the vessel.

On Wednesday, an 83-year-old Westerdam passenger from the United States tested positive for coronavirus, and the captain ordered to put the evacuation of passengers on hold. At present, 236 passengers and 747 crew members remain on board.

In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the WHO about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, central China. Coronavirus cases have also been reported in 25 other countries, including Russia. The WHO declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus a global health emergency and named the virus COVID-19. According to the latest data, the overall number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in China stands at about 72,400, with almost 1,900 deaths. About 12,500 patients have recovered to date.

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