WATCH: Hong Kong lifts quarantine on 3 600 cruise passengers
Hong Kong - Hong Kong authorities have allowed over 3 600 passengers that were forced into quarantine for five days on the World Dream cruise ship over coronavirus fears, to disembark.
Half of the travellers have passed "numerous medical tests" and temperature controls, and all the tests carried out on the ship's 1 814 crew members have come back negative for coronavirus, Efe news reported citing the Hong Kong Health Department as saying on Sunday.
"As all quarantine measures carried out by the Department of Health have been completed, all passengers and crew members can leave the cruise," Leung Yiu-hong, chief port health officer at the Centre for Health Protection, said at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal on Sunday.
The ship has been in quarantine since February 5 after it became known that crew members were in contact with eight Chinese people infected with the deadly novel coronavirus on the cruise trip.
At the time, the enforced quarantine was issued over fears crew members could have become infected and passed on the disease to passengers on the ship which was left stranded for days while health checks and extensive laboratory work were done
The cruise operator Dream Cruises has suspended the operation of the ship until further notice.
It is not the first cruise ship that has encountered problems in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, with the British Diamond Princess cruise ship remains stranded in the Japanese port of Yokohama.
Of the passengers 70 have tested positive for the virus.
MS Westerdam, which docked in Hong Kong last week, was banned from entering ports in the Philippines and Japan over fears passengers could be infected with the deadly disease, despite no knowledge of infections aboard.