Passengers disembarked the MS Westerdam cruise ship docked at Sihanoukville on Friday, one day after it was finally allowed to dock in the Cambodian city after being refused permission by several other countries amid coronavirus fears.

The cruise ship has over 2,000 passengers, with no reported cases of coronavirus. It was turned away from docking in Japan, the Philippines, Guam, Taiwan, and Thailand, from where it was escorted by the Thai Navy through the Gulf of Thailand to Cambodia.

Michael Newbill, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of the United States in Cambodia said to press "we are very appreciative of the Cambodian government's efforts which is significant for this humanitarian effort we believe that this was an excellent gesture on Cambodia's part."

The US ship departed Hong Kong with over 1,450 passengers and 802 crew on February 1. Not all passengers have been tested for the deadly coronavirus, drawing concerns that people may be asymptomatic after having been in Hong Kong during the incubation period.

The death toll of the virus, which has been declared by the WHO as a "global health emergency" has overtaken the SARs epidemic of the early 2000s, claiming the lives of 1,370.

Around 60,000 people have been infected in China alone with more than 350 cases declared in over 25 other countries, including Germany, the UK and the US. Three deaths have been confirmed outside China; in Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

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