Passenger on board Singapore ‘cruise to nowhere’ tests positive for coronavirus

9 December 2020, 09:23 | Updated: 9 December 2020, 09:28

The Quantum of the Seas cut short its trip
The Quantum of the Seas cut short its trip. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Passenger on board a Royal Caribbean "cruise to nowhere" have been confined to their rooms after one tested positive for coronavirus.

Singapore "safe cruising" allows ships to take passengers on round trips to and from the same port without stops.

An 83-year-old man travelling on the Quantum of the Seas was diagnosed with Covid-19 after reporting to the ship's medical centre, according to Annie Chang, director of cruise at Singapore's Tourism Board. 

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She said he had tested negative before boarding.

"The passenger was immediately isolated and his initial close contacts were identified and isolated," she said in a statement, adding that the close contacts have since tested negative.

The Singapore Straits Times reported the vessel, which is carrying 1,680 guests and 1,148 crew members, returned to Singapore on the third day of a four-day trip.

Passengers on board the cruise ship have been confined to their rooms
Passengers on board the cruise ship have been confined to their rooms. Picture: PA

Ms Chang said all leisure activities on board the Quantum of the Seas ceased immediately and passengers and crew were asked to stay in their cabins until contact tracing is completed.

She added that all those on board would undergo mandatory Covid-19 testing before leaving the terminal.

"They are being given regular updates and meals are provided directly to their rooms," she said. "The wellbeing and safety of our local community, as well as passengers and crew remain a top priority."

There are strict safety measure on the “cruises to nowhere”, with capacity reduced by half and pre-boarding testing for passengers.

Royal Caribbean is one of two operators licensed to run such trips.

The cruise company said in a statement that it had worked with the Singapore government to develop a thorough testing and monitoring system.

"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," it added.

Singapore has reported 58,285 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with 29 deaths.