About 2,000 passengers on a Royal Caribbean “cruise-to-nowhere” from Singapore are in quarantine in their cabins in the wake of a guest on the Quantum of the Seas ship testing positive to coronavirus.
- The “cruises to nowhere” from Singapore resumed last week
- These are Royal Caribbean’s first voyages since March
- The positive case is a setback for Singapore’s plan for a travel-bubble with Hong Kong
Singapore has been piloting the trips, which make no stops and sail in waters just off the city-state.
“A guest was feeling unwell and tested positive for COVID-19 we are asking all guests to remain in their state rooms to prevent the spread of illness,” the ship’s captain told passengers.
“We kindly ask all guests with urgent medical or health situations like diabetes, heart disease etc to contact guest services.”
Confirming the positive test, Royal Caribbean said in a statement all guests and crew who had close contact with the infected guest had subsequently tested negative for the virus.
“Emergency response plans have been activated according to guidelines, including immediate isolation of close contacts, contact tracing and deep-cleaning of the ship,” Annie Chang, director of the cruise segment at Singapore Tourism Board, said.
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Passengers will be able to disembark and medical support will be provided if necessary, she added.
The global cruise industry has taken a major hit from the coronavirus pandemic, with some of the earliest big outbreaks found on cruise ships.
The Ruby Princess, which docked in Sydney earlier this year, became a major source of COVID-19 infections in Australia.
In another case in February, passengers on the Diamond Princess were stuck off the coast of Japan for weeks when more than 700 guests and crew were infected.
Cruise ships are currently banned in Australia.
On Wednesday, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly, and Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that ban would be extended to March 17, 2021.
The cruise industry was dealt a crippling blow by coronavirus. So what does that mean for the Australians whose livelihoods depend on the sector?
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Royal Caribbean’s “cruises to nowhere” from Singapore began last week, marking the firm’s first voyages since it halted its global operations in March.
The cruises are a part of Singapore’s plans to revive its tourism industry that has been battered due to the novel coronavirus.
Singapore has had just over 58,000 cases of COVID-19 and 29 deaths.
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The new case is another setback for Singapore. Its plan to open a quarantine-free travel-bubble with Hong Kong was postponed in November.
Among the precautions being taken so cruises from Singapore can resume are pre-departure testing and guests carrying an electronic contact tracing device. Guests must also socially distance at all times.
The infected case’s close contacts will be placed in quarantine or health surveillance, the Straits Times newspaper reported.
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