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WHO thanks Cambodia for allowing stranded cruise ship to dock

By Joseph Almer Pedrajas

The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed gratitude to the government of Cambodia for letting a cruise ship, which had been turned away by several countries, to dock and disembark their passengers in its provincial port.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world has a "window of opportunity" to halt the spread of the coronavirus (AFP Photo/Fabrice COFFRINI)

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus  (AFP Photo/Fabrice COFFRINI/MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“My sincere thanks to the government of Cambodia and Prime Minister Hun Sen for clearing the way for Westerdam Cruise ship,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a tweet early Thursday morning (local time).

The Westerdam Cruise ship will be docking in the southwestern Cambodian province of Sihanoukville reportedly on Thursday, days after it had been stranded on open seas.

Five countries, including the Philippines, Guam, Taiwan, Thailand, and Japan, refused to let it dock in their seaports and disembark its around 2,000 passengers over concerns of 2019-novel coronavirus disease (COVID-2019).

Ghebreyesus said Cambodia’s move “is a welcome act of solidarity at a time when the world has a window of opportunity to stop COVID-2019.”

He added that it is also an act to “avoid stigma and fear.”

In a press conference, Ghebreyesus stressed that stigmatizing individuals or an entire nation “does nothing but harm.”

“Outbreaks can bring out the best and worst in people,” he said,” instead of directing all our energy against COVID-2019, stigma diverts our attention and turns people against each other.”

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