Central Vietnam port refuses foreign cruise ships as coronavirus drops anchor

By Vo Thanh   March 13, 2020 | 10:15 pm PT
Central Vietnam port refuses foreign cruise ships as coronavirus drops anchor
The U.S.’s Crystal Symphony cruise ship docks at Chan May Port in Thua Thien-Hue Province on February 19, 2020. Photo courtesy of Crystal Cruises.
Chan May Port in central Thua Thien-Hue Province decided Friday to stop receiving all international cruise ships as the Covid-19 threat escalates.

The decision follows Vietnam recording 28 coronavirus cases as of Friday morning after the country going 22 days without any new infection. The World Health Organization on Friday named Europe "the epicenter" of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier, 24 international cruise ships canceled plans to dock at Chan May Port over Covid-19 concerns.

Located on the central coast, Hue, capital of Thua Thien-Hue Province, was home to the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), Vietnam's last royal family. The town stands out from other parts of the country with its Imperial Citadel and royal tombs.

Diamond Princess on January 27 visited Chan May Port before docking at Ha Long International Cruise Port in northern Quang Ninh Province, home to Ha Long Bay, a day later. The ship was placed under two-week quarantine on arrival at Japan's Yokohama City on February 3 after dozens of passengers, out of a total 3,700, tested positive for Covid-19. So far, 700 passengers on board have been infected with the disease while seven had died.

Bahamian-flagged Silver Spirit, owned by Silversea Cruises, carrying many Italian passengers and crew members, was denied permission to dock in Saigon on Friday over fears someone onboard might carry the virus.

Aida Vita, operated by German company AIDA Cruises, was refused permission to dock in Quang Ninh Province on February 13, over the same fears.

Vietnam had recorded 48 Covid-19 cases as of Saturday morning, of which 16 were discharged weeks ago. The country had gone 22 days without any new infection until March 6. Since, 32 infections have been confirmed.

Complicated developments of the epidemic have forced the Vietnamese government to take tougher measures to contain its spread, including suspending visa waivers for citizens of eight European countries and reducing the frequency of flights to the contintent.

It has issued several travel bans, cancelled flights to epidemic-hit areas and imposed strict quarantine requirements for those coming from affected countries and territories.

The Covid-19 outbreak has spread to 128 countries and territories around the world, killing over 5,000 people.

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