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Vietnam turns away Norwegian, other cruise ships

As the deadly coronavirus continues to spread, Vietnam has begun blocking ships from making port calls.

Vietnam authorities stopped AIDAvita, a German ship, from making a port call. And Norwegian Cruise Line said Vietnam is closing its ports to cruise ships, which has forced the line to cancel the upcoming sailing of its Norwegian Jade cruise ship.

“Due to growing concerns regarding coronavirus in Asia, the ports we planned to visit in Vietnam are no longer open to accepting cruise ships,” Christine Da Silva, Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson, said in an emailed statement to USA TODAY.

Instead of finding another port, Norwegian canceled the cruise altogether. Da Silva said that omitting Vietnam would change the itinerary on the ship’s sailing from Feb. 17-Feb. 27 and that there is “no viable replacement.” 

And the itinerary of German ship, AIDAvita of AIDA Cruises, a subsidiary of the Carnival Corporation, has been changed after the ship was denied entry in Vietnam on Thursday.

“The port authorities of Cai Lan (Halong Bay) did not confirm the planned call of AIDAvita on February 13 and 14, 2020 in time as usual,” Kathrin Heitmann, a spokesperson for AIDA Cruises, said in an emailed statement to USA TODAY.

The Norwegian Jade is set to leave Singapore on Feb. 6 on an itinerary that includes stops in Cambodia, Thailand and  Vietnam before ending in Hong Kong.

The ship had docked in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, which all have had cases of coronavirus, the Vietnam News Agency told Reuters.

By midday Friday, Vietnam had reported 16 confirmed cases of coronavirus. The new coronavirus, which was first identified in Wuhan, China, has spread across the globe with more than 64,400 confirmed cases and the death toll rising above 1,380. 

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