Villagers back home after cruise ship goes off course due to coronavirus scare

Two women from The Villages are relieved to be back home after their cruise ship went off course due to a coronavirus scare.

Meg Moretsky, left, and Joan Bernbach.

Meg Moretsky and Joan Bernbach of the Village of Liberty Park were among the more than 1,000 passengers on the MS Westerdam, a ship from the Holland America line.

After their ship was finally allowed to dock in Cambodia, the women finally were able to secure travel back to Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.

They flew from Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, to Tokyo, then to Houston and finally to Orlando.

“So glad to be back in the U.S.,” Moretsky said.

Because of the coronavirus scare, the cruise ship had been denied docking privileges in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Guam. Cambodia finally allowed the cruise ship to dock last week and disembarking passengers were greeted by Cambodia’s prime minister.

An 83-year-old American passenger who had been on the ship was thought to have the coronavirus, but it has since been determined she did not.

“I have confirmed that all the passengers were tested, and they have come back negative for coronavirus, including the person who initially tested positive,” said CDC spokesperson Richard Quartarone. He added that the hospitalized woman “may have had a respiratory illness, but if she did, it was not COVID-19.”

COVID-19 is the official name given to the ailment initially tagged the coronavirus.

Holland America has maintained that no one on board the MS Westerdam had symptoms or tested positive for coronavirus.

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