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Cruise ship returns to Singapore passenger tests positive for Covid-19

ONBOARD QUANTUM OF THE SEAS (The Straits Times/ANN) -- Royal Caribbean has cut short a cruise and returned to Singapore after an elderly passenger on board the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship tested positive for Covid-19.

Royal Caribbean cruise ship Quantum of the Seas arrived in Singapore on Dec 9, 2020. --Photo ST

In a statement on Wednesday (December 9), Mrs Annie Chang, director of cruise at the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), said the passenger is an 83-year-old Singaporean.
“The passenger had reported to the on-board medical centre with diarrhoea, and underwent a mandatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test as part of on-board protocols.
“The passenger had taken a mandatory Covid-19 PCR test prior to boarding, and was tested negative,” added Mrs Chang.
The vessel, with 1,680 guests and 1,148 crew members on board, arrived in Singapore at 8am on Wednesday after turning back on day three of a four-day cruise to nowhere.
The ship has isolated all guests and crew who had close contact with the guest. All of them tested negative for the coronavirus.
Mrs Chang said that as part of safety protocols, the passenger was immediately isolated and his initial close contacts were identified and isolated as well.
“Those close contacts have since tested negative following PCR testing and further contact tracing is ongoing. All on-board leisure activities also ceased immediately and passengers were asked to stay in their cabins.”
The ship’s captain had confirmed the incident via an announcement at about 8.10am when the ship arrived in Singapore. “It’s important that you know that you are safe on board and we have a good plan in place to maintain your health, safety and comfort,” he said.
He had previously informed guests at about 2.45am that the ship would be returning early. He had also instructed all guests to remain in their cabins.
Mrs Chang said emergency response plans have been activated according to guidelines, including immediate isolation of close contacts, contact tracing and deep cleaning of the ship.
She added that all passengers had undergone a mandatory Covid-19 test prior to boarding, and stringent hygiene and safety measures were implemented throughout their journey.
Royal Caribbean last week resumed three- and four-night Ocean Getaway cruises as part of a safe cruising pilot programme announced in October by the STB.  Cruises under the programme cater only to Singapore residents and do not have ports of call. The resumption of cruises are part of efforts to reboot the cruise industry, which has been largely on pause because of the pandemic. 
Capacity on the Quantum of the Seas has been halved from more than 4,000 passengers.

(Latest Update December 10, 2020)

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