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Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail says the government has decided to prevent foreign ships that refuse to share essential details needed by Malaysian authorities from docking in Malaysian waters. - NSTP file pic

PUTRAJAYA: The government today has decided to prevent foreign ships that refuse to share essential details needed by Malaysian authorities from docking in Malaysian waters.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said such a decision was reached as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 outbreak.

Tthe Immigration Department, she said, had received requests from two cruise ships namely, the MS Westerdam and Sapphire Princess to dock in Malaysia.

"The Westerdam with the capacity of about 1,000 passengers left Hong Kong on Feb 1 and had initially intended to dock in Malaysia. It then received permission from Cambodia (to berth) yesterday (Feb 13).

"Meanwhile, Sapphire Princess has safely docked in Singapore. So this issue does not arise anymore," she told a press conference after chairing the Disaster Management High Level Committee (HLC) meeting, here, today.

Foreign media reported a cruise ship in Japan, quarantined in the port of Yokohama, had more than 200 confirmed Covid-19 cases, making the Diamond Princess the largest coronavirus cluster outside China.

As fear gripped the region following the outbreak, cruise liners are making drastic changes to their Asian voyages with changes in schedules and routes.

The MS Westerdam, run by the US-based Holland America Line, was turned away by five places in Asia- Thailand, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines, and Japan before getting the clearance to dock in Cambodia.

Those who had booked the regional cruise on the Sapphire Princess, due to depart Marina Bay Cruise Centre on Thursday, had been informed of its cancellation the day before.

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