Fears Rise Over Coronavirus as American Cruise Passenger Is Diagnosed After Previously Showing No Symptoms

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Fears over the COVID-19 coronavirus spreading to more countries have escalated after an American cruise passenger, who previously showed no symptoms, was diagnosed with the virus on Sunday after disembarking the MS Westerdam, a cruise ship from the Holland America Line (a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation).

The vessel carried 1,455 passengers (around 600 of whom were reported to be American) and 802 crew members, all of whom had undergone health checks and were cleared for travel after reporting no symptoms of illness. As authorities scramble to track the other passengers who were allowed to disembark the ship in Cambodia, the latest diagnosis has sparked concerns that people showing no symptoms could be slipping through the cracks of the health screening process.

The deadly virus, which was first identified in Wuhan in the Hubei province of China, has claimed the lives of at least 1,669 people, with around 71,000 cases confirmed across 26 countries as of Monday morning, according to the latest report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The 83-year-old American woman aboard the MS Westerdam flew from Cambodia to Malaysia where she was stopped at Kuala Lumpur International Airport after testing positive for the coronavirus, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail confirmed, The Star reports.