March 12, 2020 / 3:55 PM / a month ago

Vietnamese city advised to turn away cruise ship over coronavirus fears

HANOI, March 12 (Reuters) - Health authorities in the southern Vietnamese city of Ho Chi Minh want to stop a Bahamas-flagged cruise ship with Italians on board docking at the economic hub on Friday over coronavirus concerns, state media reported.

The Health Department on Thursday advised the People’s Committee of the city not to allow passengers on the cruise liner, Silver Spirit, to disembark, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said.

The department said the move is aimed at “limiting the intrusion of disease into the city”, according to the report.

The ship, carrying 423 passengers and 403 crew, including “several Italians”, is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd . The company didn’t immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Calls to the People’s Committee and health department went unanswered on Thursday.

Vietnam’s coronavirus cases rose to 44 on Thursday, the Ministry of Health said. There have been no fatalities.

Last month, a cruise ship arrived in the Cambodian port of Sihanoukville having been turned away at five other ports after leaving Hong Kong. (Reporting by Khanh Vu and Phuong Nguyen; editing by Nick Macfie)

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