KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — Malaysia has decided not to allow cruise ships entry into any port because screening those onboard for Covid-19 requires considerable medical resources, Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said.
He explained that it was more important at this time to concentrate medical resources in hospitals for emergencies and disease prevention.
“As such the Ministry of Health in consultation with other government ministries and agencies has taken a decision not to permit the entry of cruise vessels to Malaysian ports including Port Klang with immediate effect until the overall situation improves and the spread of the virus is contained,” Dr Noor Hisham said yesterday.
“We acknowledge that the cruise industry is an important component of Malaysia’s tourism industry and has contributed significantly to the Malaysian economy.
“We are hopeful that this is a temporary measure and are confident that the concerted efforts of all parties will assist in resolving the issue at hand soonest possible,” he added.
Thailand and Malaysia have both denied entry to the Costa Fortuna, a cruise ship carrying about 2,000 people, including 64 Italians, despite no suspected coronavirus cases aboard.
After Penang prohibited the Costa Fortuna from docking, the vessel headed to Singapore, Penang state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh told AFP.
Italy announced yesterday that it would put millions of people across northern Italy in the Lombardy region, as well as 14 other provinces, under lockdown, as Covid-19 cases in the country near 6,000, with 233 deaths, marking it the biggest outbreak in Europe.
Malaysia yesterday reported six new Covid-19 cases, pushing the total cumulative to 99. Twenty-four patients have fully recovered and discharged from hospital. The six new cases recorded yesterday, according to Dr Noor Hisham, were linked to Patient 26.