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Coronavirus: Kent dad's fear as son trapped on cruise where 'tourists with virus thrown off'

A Kent dad says he's worried for his son's safety after tourists were reportedly thrown off his cruise of the Far East amid fears about the coronavirus.

Sean Dunne flew out to Singapore from Heathrow with his mum and her friend last week, before setting sail on a huge ship, which planned to take in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam over the course of a fortnight.

Scott Dunne and his son Sean
Scott Dunne and his son Sean

However, the 19-year-old was told he and his tour party were not allowed to enter certain areas as concerns grow over the spread of the deadly virus and the cruiseliner has instead been anchored off coastal areas.

Furthermore, it is claimed around 100 Canadian tourists were forced off the boat at one stage through fear of contamination after they stopped off in Hong Kong, while another passenger was seen being taken away in an ambulance.

Dad Scott, a 45-year-old lorry driver from Hoo, says he is growing increasingly concerned for the safety of his son, who lives in Wales.

"The uncertainty, and not knowing what's going to happen at the end of the cruise, is probably what's worrying me most," he said.

"The trip was booked last year but I think they were in two minds about whether to go at all because of what's been going on, and since they've been out there, so much has changed.

"I fear the chances of them getting the virus are now quite high..."

"They've not been allowed off the boat at Vietnam and were going to visit Hong Kong at the end but can't do that now.

"They've got to get back to Singapore, which was supposed to be the safe haven, for the flight home and even that's up in the air.

"No one has got any answers, and I can't believe the government hasn't stepped in and said these kind of cruises can't go ahead.

"I fear the chances of them getting the virus are now quite high."

A spokesman for Norwegian Cruise Line said: "The safety, security and well-being of our guests and crew is our number one priority.

"We have proactively implemented several preventative measures outlined below due to growing concerns regarding coronavirus infections in China.

One of the Norwegian Cruise Line ships is sailing around Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong and Singapore
One of the Norwegian Cruise Line ships is sailing around Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong and Singapore

"We will continue to consult with The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and take appropriate additional action as needed.

“We apologise for the inconvenience to any guests affected by these measures put in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all our guests and crew.”

The company has said any guest who holds a Chinese, Hong Kong, or Macau passport will not be allowed on the ships, regardless of residency.

It also added people who have visited those three areas within the 30 days of getting on the cruise will not be allowed on board.

Any guests who have been denied access will get a refund after providing proof of travel.

It continued, saying people who exhibit symptoms of the illness will be screened at the onboard medical centre and could be quarantined or taken off the ship.

There are no cases of the virus in Kent, although there have been a number of scares this month.

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