SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia — Hundreds of cruise ship passengers long-stranded at sea by virus fears have finally disembarked in Cambodia, where they were welcomed by the nation's authoritarian leader who handed them flowers. The ship had been stranded at sea for about two weeks.

Prime Minister Hun Sen agreed to let the MS Westerdam dock at the port of Sihanoukville after Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Guam barred the ship over fears it might spread the new virus. 218 cases have been confirmed on another cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, which made stops in Hong Kong and other ports before arriving in Japan last week.

The passengers cheered and waved goodbye to others watching from the ship’s deck.

Cambodia Outbreak Cruise Ship
Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, left, gives a bouquet of flowers to a passenger who disembarked from the MS Westerdam, owned by Holland America Line, at the port of Sihanoukville, Cambodia, Friday, Feb. 14, 2020. Hundreds of cruise ship passengers long stranded at sea by virus fears cheered as they finally disembarked Friday and were welcomed to Cambodia. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
AP

The Westerdam was unwelcome elsewhere even though its operator, Holland America Line, said no cases of the virus had been confirmed among its passengers and crew.

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