Covid-19: Indonesian govt says all 362 Indonesians aboard Westerdam cruise ship are healthy

Indonesia still has zero cases of Covid-19 as of Feb. 18, 2020.

Syahindah Ishak| February 18, 11:15 PM

The MS Westerdam cruise ship was stranded for almost two weeks before it was finally allowed to dock at Cambodia on Feb. 13.

It was previously declined entry at Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Guam and the Philippines for fear that someone aboard was infected with Covid-19.

This was despite multiple assurances by the ship that there were no suspected cases on board.

Former passenger tested positive for Covid-19

However, on Feb. 15, an American woman who was on board the MS Westerdam tested positive for Covid-19 when she later arrived in Malaysia.

Malaysia's Health Ministry said that the woman and her husband were both symptomatic upon arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport and were referred for further checks.

Her husband, on the other hand, had tested negative.

Holland American Line issued a statement on its website, stating that it was awaiting "secondary testing for confirmation":

It was later confirmed that the woman tested positive for the second time.

All Indonesian passengers are healthy

News of the confirmed Covid-19 case had caused alarm among passengers who were on board MS Westerdam.

Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi, however, announced that all 362 Indonesians who were on board the ship are healthy.

Retno said via The Jakarta Post:

“Indonesians account for most of the crew members on the ship. When the ship anchored, they have been confirmed to be in a healthy condition."

Out of the 362 citizens, 27 had returned to Indonesia as their work contracts with the MS Westerdam had expired.

According to the Indonesian government, the 27 Indonesians had filled out their health alert cards and were in good health upon arriving in the country.

Initially, 60 people were planning to return to Indonesia, but 33 eventually decided to extend their contracts with MS Westerdam.

Still no cases in Indonesia

As of Feb. 18, 2020, Indonesia is still one of the few Southeast Asian countries that has yet to announced any confirmed cases of Covid-19 even though it has a population of 264 million people and over two million tourists from China.

The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s representative to Indonesia, Navaratnasamy Paranietharan, expressed concern that the country had not reported any confirmed cases.

However, he also said that Indonesian authorities had assured WHO that their lab testing kits are working well.

Indonesian Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto said, according to Reuters:

“We have the kits to check coronavirus and they’re certified...Nothing is concealed.”

Top image by Tang Chhin Sothy via Getty Images.