Passengers on Taiwan cruise ship test negative for coronavirus

SuperStar Aquarius docks in Keelung despite ban, passengers currently showing no signs of symptoms

SuperStar Aquarius docks in Keelung Feb. 8. 

SuperStar Aquarius docks in Keelung Feb. 8.  (CNA photo)

Update : 2020-02-08 21:16

At around 9 p.m. on Saturday, Chen announced that all passengers on the SuperStar Aquarius had tested negative for the coronavirus. He said that the Taiwanese aboard are cleared to return home but must continue to monitor their health and follow the 14-day home quarantine rule.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) led a medical screening on the SuperStar Aquarius Saturday morning (Feb. 8) as the cruise ship docked in Keelung.

Chen and 25 medical workers boarded the SuperStar Aquarius and took the temperatures of all 1,738 passengers. Through the intercom, Chen congratulated the passengers for arriving home and urged them to stay calm during the health examinations.

At a press conference Saturday afternoon, Chen said that no passengers have shown signs of fever but that the conclusive results of the tests will be revealed at a later time. He said it will take approximately six hours to complete the entire screening process and that the passengers' travel histories will also be checked.

Chen emphasized that no passenger, regardless of nationality, will be allowed to disembark if they test positive for the coronavirus. He stressed that the medical staff is taking an extremely cautious approach to ensure the health of people in Taiwan, reported Liberty Times.

Despite the Taiwanese government's decision to ban all international cruise liners from docking in the country from Thursday (Feb. 6) due to Wuhan coronavirus fears, the SuperStar Aquarius was given special permission to stop in Keelung since 90 percent of the passengers are Taiwanese. The exemption has attracted great attention from the Taiwanese public after more than 60 passengers on a Princess Cruises cruise liner, which stopped in Keelung Port on Jan. 31, have been confirmed to have the coronavirus.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung leads coronavirus screening Feb. 8. (CNA photo)

Medical team prepares for arrival of SuperStar Aquarius. (CNA photo)