A ROYAL Caribbean cruise ship has returned to port in Singapore after a passenger tested positive for Covid-19.
The Quantum of the Seas ship was hosting a three-night, four-day “cruise to nowhere” itinerary around Singapore and departed from the Marina Bay Cruise Centre on December 7. The cruise was part of a much-vaunted programme to reinvigorate domestic travel in Singapore amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Royal Caribbean has confirmed to CNN that a passenger on board the ship tested positive for the virus. The passenger, whose name has not been released, is an 83-year-old man who contacted ship personnel after he began experiencing diarrhea.
Upon the confirmed positive test, the Quantum of the Seas informed Singaporean officials of the news and returned to port. Guests will not be permitted to disembark from the ship until full contact tracing measures have been carried out.
The man has been taken to a hospital in Singapore. The remaining 1,679 passengers and 1,148 crew members will be tested for coronavirus, even if they were not in direct contact with the infected passenger, and will not be permitted to disembark from the ship until they get a negative test result.
Until then, everyone has been asked to remain in their staterooms, and food and other amenities are being delivered to them.
“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,” a Royal Caribbean representative said. “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.”
“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,” she added.
The ship was operating at 50% capacity. All passengers had to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test in order to board and wear masks at all times when outside their staterooms. Only Singaporean citizens were allowed to buy tickets for the cruise, and crew members from around the world spent 14 days quarantining in the city-state in order to be cleared for working.
As an extra hygiene measure, fresh air was regularly cycled throughout the ship, Royal Caribbean said.
The Quantum of the Seas debuted in 2015 to much fanfare. On-board amenities include bumper cars, a bionic bar with iPad ordering, a skydiving simulator and 19 restaurants, including one with an “Alice in Wonderland” theme. It cost $1 billion to build and outfit.
Top: An overall view of Quantum of the Seas. Photo: CNN