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Royal Caribbean cruise to nowhere returns to Singapore after passenger tests positive for Covid-19

SINGAPORE — A Royal Caribbean cruise to nowhere has returned to Singapore after a passenger tested positive for Covid-19.

A cruise to nowhere carrying a passenger who has Covid-19 returned to Singapore on the morning of Dec 9, 2020 for passengers to disembark and receive medical support if necessary.

A cruise to nowhere carrying a passenger who has Covid-19 returned to Singapore on the morning of Dec 9, 2020 for passengers to disembark and receive medical support if necessary.

  • A passenger on a Royal Caribbean cruise to nowhere has tested positive for Covid-19
  • All close contacts of the passenger have tested negative
  • The ship has returned to Singapore for passengers to disembark and receive medical help if needed

 

SINGAPORE — A Royal Caribbean cruise to nowhere has returned to Singapore after a passenger tested positive for Covid-19.

The passenger was immediately isolated and all close contacts of the passenger have tested negative, Ms Annie Chang, director of cruise at the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), said in a statement on Wednesday (Dec 9). 

“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.

The ship returned to Singapore so that passengers may disembark and receive medical support if necessary. TODAY’s reporter, who was at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre, saw the ship dock at the centre at about 8.20am.

In response to TODAY’s queries, Royal Caribbean said that the passenger tested positive for the coronavirus after checking in with the ship's medical team.

“The ship… will debark guests after a review of contact tracing is completed,” the company added.

The cruise set off from Singapore on Monday and was to have returned to shore on Thursday morning.

Since last Thursday, Royal Caribbean has been operating cruises to nowhere from Singapore — the second cruise company to do so after Genting Cruise Lines

It was one of two firms given the go-ahead to offer such round trips with no port of call, as part of a pilot scheme announced by STB in October.

Royal Caribbean offers Singapore residents three- and four-night “Ocean Getaways” cruises on its ship Quantum of the Seas. 

The cruise liner, which must sail at a reduced capacity of 50 per cent owing to the pandemic, can serve about 2,000 guests at half-capacity, based on news reports. 

Passengers and crew must abide by stringent precautions, including coronavirus testing for all before boarding. All guests must also wear masks, keep a safe distance from other passengers and have the TraceTogether contact-tracing mobile application or token with them at all times, among other measures.

Passengers on the balconies of the cruise ship Quantum of the Seas on Dec 9, 2020. Photo: Ili Nadhirah Mansor/TODAY

TODAY reported in October that if suspected Covid-19 cases are detected on cruises to nowhere departing from Singapore, they will be isolated immediately along with their close contacts and the ship will return to shore, with all guests barred from leaving their rooms. 

All onboard activities will stop and contact tracing will be activated. Deep cleaning will also be done. Once the ship returns to Singapore, contingency plans are in place for passengers to disembark and be provided with medical support if needed.

Quantum of the Seas is equipped with upgraded medical facilities for immediate diagnostic testing. Royal Caribbean said last week that two doctors and five registered nurses — one of whom is a newly appointed infectious-disease control officer overseeing health and safety protocols — are on board. 

The cruise company said: "We worked closely with the Government to develop a thorough system that tests and monitors all guests and crew, and follows public health best practices.

"That we were able to quickly identify this single case and take immediate action is a sign that the system is working as it was designed to do."

Ms Chang of STB said: “The well-being and safety of our local community, as well as passengers and crew, remain a top priority.

“All passengers undergo a mandatory Covid-19 test prior to boarding, with stringent hygiene and safety measures implemented throughout their passenger journey.”

Related topics

Covid-19 cruise Royal Caribbean STB

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