Cambodia: One among the four Malayali crew members on board the cruise ship MS Westerdam docked at Sihanoukville in Cambodia will finally be able to join his family back home in Kochi soon. After other countries turned away the ship suspecting it to be carrying passengers affected with COVID-19, Bitta Kuruvilla from Kerala was stuck in the ship. He was the executive chef of the cruise liner.

On February 19,  Cambodian authorities announced that the remaining passengers of the ship tested negative for the virus and their travel restrictions will be lifted.

The vessel with 1,455 passengers and 802 crew was refused entry by four other countries as it had previously docked in Hong Kong en route to Japan. It was Cambodia that finally gave permission for the ship to dock.

But the situation became tense after an 83-year-old American woman passenger, who was flown to Malaysia from Cambodia, tested positive.

Kuruvilla said though their travel restrictions will be lifted, he is planning to reach home only in mid-April. “We will be here for the next two days. Our next cruise from Yokohama has been cancelled. There is still no confirmation about us returning to the United States. In fact, we were running short of food items as our last loading was on January 17,” he said.

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, which cause illnesses to people and also circulate in animals including camels, cats and bats. Animal coronaviruses can also evolve and infect people.

Symptoms of coronavirus:

High fever, breathing difficulty are the symptoms of coronavirus. Detection becomes difficult if the person is suffering from flu or cold.