BANGKOK, Thailand — Cruise passengers who thought their travel nightmare had ended when they were finally allowed to disembark in Cambodia are finding themselves in a new state of limbo.
A dearth of flights from the Cambodian capital combined with travel restrictions curtailing what countries will allow passengers in has complicated efforts to get home.
After nearly two weeks of uncertainty in which Holland America Line's Westerdam was repeatedly refused clearance to port, Cambodia gave its OK last week. The country received praise from around the world for accepting the ship to its port. President Donald Trump even tweeted, "The United States will remember your courtesy."
Joyful passengers began disembarking as travel arrangements were made, but the process was halted when one passenger tested positive for the illness known as COVID-19.
The U.S. Embassy in Cambodia said on Feb. 15 that they were aware of reports that a passenger in Malaysia, who traveled from Cambodia on Feb. 14 after disembarking the Westerdam, tested positive for the virus.
A few days later the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia said the Cambodian Ministry of Health has announced that all passengers of the Westerdam in Cambodia have tested negative for COVID-19 and are cleared to travel safely.
The U.S. Embassy said it is working hard to help American citizens return home.
Now, hundreds are standing by hoping to snag a seat on a flight out.
This comes after hundreds of passengers left the Diamond Princess cruise ship after their two-week quarantine ended in Japan. Some passengers said they received health check forms asking if they had any symptoms such as headache, fever, cough. Passengers who tested negative and had no symptoms still had to get their body temperature checked before leaving.
The ship quarantined at the Japanese port had 540 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the ship had more infections than anywhere outside China.