Taking advantage of the opportunity to boost his country's tourism profile, Hun Sen said the passengers were free to go to the beach, go sightseeing in Sihanoukville or even visit the famous centuries-old Angkor Wat temple complex in the northwest.
Since it sailed off from Hong Kong on Feb 1, the cruise ship had been turned away by Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Guam and Thailand over fears that some of its passengers may have been infected by the new coronavirus.
Some of the passengers on the cruise ship which finally docked at a port in Cambodia are now back on dry land, marking the end of a almost two-week long ordeal. Later, a helicopter took off for Phnom Penh, carrying fluid samples from passengers for virus tests.
The epidemic has given China's ruling Communist Party one of its sternest challenges in years, constrained the world's second-largest economy and triggered a purge of provincial bureaucrats.
The country's health minister advised the public a woman in her 80s had died as a result of the virus. It has also barred anyone who has travelled from or transited via China, including Hong Kong and Macau, two weeks before departure or has been in close contact with anyone visiting the aforementioned places.
Japan is one of the worst affected of more than two dozen countries and territories outside mainland China that have seen hundreds of infections from the flu-like sickness. Of the 3,700 on that vessel, 175 tested positive for the virus.
"Investors will surely avoid Asia for the time being and will shift funds to the USA, geographically the most separated from the region", said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
"Cambodia pays more attention to human rights. we respect the rights of the more than 2,000 people on the boat", Hun Sen said.
The ship has been turned away by five governments over coronavirus fears.
The MS Westerdam, carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew, docked in the Cambodian port town of Sihanoukville on Thursday.
In Win for Amazon, Judge Freezes work on Pentagon Contract
Amazon and Microsoft were finalists for the lucrative contract, for which Amazon was considered an early front-runner. The contract is meant to give the military better access to data and technology from remote locations.
Vanessa Bryant Renames Kobe's Charity To Honor Daughter Gianna
TNT will honor the late Bryant throughout NBA All-Star 2020 with a variety of production elements, features and tributes. Bryant passed the love for the game to Gianna, who aspired to one day play basketball for the University of CT .
USA says it's ready to help North Korea combat virus
He told CNN: "North Korea has such a limited supply of basic medicine that public health officials need to focus on preventative medicine".
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, left, greets passengers leaving the Westerdam after it docked.
The passengers cheered as they walked toward waiting buses and waved goodbye to other passengers watching from the ship's deck.
"My wife and I gave him some chocolates as a show of our appreciation", Lou Poandel, a tourist from New Jersey, told Reuters after he disembarked and met the Cambodian leader.
The figures from China were the second batch released after Hubei changed the diagnostic criteria for the disease, adding patients who were showing symptoms of COVID-19 but that either had not been tested for the virus or had previously tested negative.
This is while Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, said he was pleased Cambodia had accepted the ship, calling it an "example of worldwide solidarity".
Health experts have also cleared 587 suspected cases after finding majority were suffering influenza.
"This does not represent a significant change in the trajectory of the outbreak", said Mark Ryan, head of WHO's health emergencies program.
"We don't have wealth like a rich country but we have sympathy for the passengers stranded on the ship", he said.
"The permission to dock is to stop the disease of fear that is happening around the world", he told state-affiliated media website Fresh News on Wednesday. "We're a little disappointed in the lack of transparency coming from the Chinese, these numbers are jumping around. there was some surprise", he told reporters.