Idexx Laboratories application developer Opal Staudenmaier, photographed at the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia. She was stranded in the country’s capital, Phnom Penh, but is back home now. Photo courtesy of Opal Staudenmaier

A Gorham woman who was stuck on a cruise ship in the South China Sea for more than a week amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak finally made it home late this week.

Opal Staudenmaier, 48, was one of almost 2,260 passengers and crew on the MS Westerdam, a 951-foot cruise ship scheduled to make stops across the region, including in Japan and the Philippines.

But after leaving Hong Kong at the beginning of February, several ports denied it entry over fear that people aboard could spread COVID-19, the name of the virus, which causes respiratory disease. Holland America Lines, the cruise ship operator, has said there was no indication of the illness during its voyage.

The ship was eventually able to dock in Cambodia and passengers began disembarking on Feb. 15.

In an interview with News Center Maine (WCSH-TV/WLBZ-TV), Staudenmaier said she was an “anxious wreck for days” during the ordeal. At one point she came down with a fever and had to stay in her room even though she tested negative for the virus and the flu.

“You have this thing going around and you start to cough. What’s going on? Is this it or not? I haven’t had a temp since the first day,” Staudenmaier told the TV station.

The coronavirus outbreak was first detected in Wuhan, China, late last year and is responsible for the deaths of more than 2,200 people worldwide.

In Cambodia, passengers were screened for the virus before they were allowed to leave the country, according to news reports.

Stuadenmaier was eventually able to fly out of Cambodia. She got back home to Gorham on Thursday, after 30 hours of travel, she said in an email.

Staudenmaier told News Center Maine she has been in contact with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and takes her temperature every day.

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