Malaysia tightens rules on foreign ships for fear of COVID-19 hinh anh 1Health workers of Malaysia receive the country's citizens repatriated from China's Wuhan city, the epicentre of the COVID-19 epidemic, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 4 (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – The Malaysian Government has decided not to allow any foreign vessel that refuses to share essential information required by local authorities to dock in the country.

The decision was made in light of the outbreak of the acute respiratory disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail told reporters on February 14 after chairing a meeting of the Disaster Management High Level Committee.

She noted that the country’s Immigration Department had received requests from two cruise ships, namely the MS Westerdam and Sapphire Princess, to dock in Malaysia.

The Westerdam with the capacity of about 1,000 passengers left Hong Kong (China) on February 1 and had initially intended to dock in Malaysia. It then received permission from Cambodia to berth on February 13. Meanwhile, Sapphire Princess has safely docked in Singapore. 

Fears over cruise ships carrying the novel coronavirus emerged after the Diamond Princess, now under quarantine in the port of Yokohama of Japan, had more than 200 passengers tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.

Malaysia on February 15 confirmed two new COVID-19 cases, raising the number of infected people in the country to 21/.