Back to plague-related news, Malaysia has now issued a blanket ban on all cruise ships coming into the country due to Covid-19, joining Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan.
The ban took place immediately after instructions from the Health Ministry and Transport Ministry. Penang Port Commission issued a statement to ship owners, agents, vessel owners, port authorities and terminal operators citing that all cruise vessels are not allowed to enter Malaysian port till further notice.
Port Klang Authority (PKA) also sent out a similar statement adding that while the cruise industry is important to the now-collapsing tourism industry, the temporary step was a necessity. PKA general manager Captain K. Subramaniam told The Star that it is more important for medical resources to focus on hospitals for medical emergencies and take preventive steps.
“We are hopeful that this is a temporary measure and with concerted efforts of all parties, it will be resolved soonest possible,” he said.
Based on statistics, last year Penang had a large increase in cruise passengers. There were 354,507 in 2018 and 449,885 in 2019, the number of vessels increasing from 185 to 198. Port Klang received 360,000 last year with 150 cruise liners and 300,000 passengers in 2018.
“Although it could affect the tourism industry, it’s too big a risk.”, said Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, in response to the directive from the Transport Ministry.
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