An 83-year-old male Singaporean on board Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19 infection, causing the ship to return to Singapore earlier than planned.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health said that epidemiological investigations and contact tracing were in progress.
“In the meantime, all the identified close contacts of the case have been isolated, and the results that have come back so far are negative for COVID-19 infection.
“The remaining passengers and crew will remain on board the ship until contact tracing is completed. All passengers will undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing before they are allowed to leave the terminal at Marina Bay Cruise Centre,” the ministry said on Wednesday.
The ship returned to port on Wednesday in accordance with government protocols, and will debark guests after a review of contact tracing is completed.
“We are in communication with the Singapore government, and appreciate their guidance as we work together to protect the health and safety of our guests and crew.
“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,” Royal Caribbean International said in a statement.
The cruise line’s Quantum Class ship departed from Marina Bay Cruise Centre on the first of its 3- to 4-night Ocean Getaways after a long pause caused by COVID-19 at the beginning of December. This is the third cruise since the company’s return to operations.
The company said it had been preparing for months to finally set sail again, implementing comprehensive, multilayered health and safety measures.
The new protocols start before the sailing with pre-departure health screenings, mandatory universal testing during embarkation and debarkation, mask-wearing, physical distancing and enhanced cleaning practices across the ship, as well as reduced occupancy on board the vessel.
The company has also introduced a Tracelet, a custom wearable required for all guests and crew on board Quantum of the Seas. The technology helps monitor physical distancing and the cruise line’s contract tracing procedures.
The test run of resuming cruises in Singapore by RCL comes at a time when the cruise industry is eager to return back to business after sustaining major losses during the suspension of sailings across the globe.
Several brands have launched limited, regional sailings, however, it has been very difficult to maintain cruises amid rising infection cases, and restrictive measures implemented by governments.
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