Update (10.55am, 9 Dec): Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reported that the Covid-19 case who had tested positive on the cruise is an 83-year-old passenger.
The passenger had reportedly tested negative prior to boarding the cruise but underwent a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test after experiencing diarrhoea while on the ship.
As families are making the most of the year-end break, passengers aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise to nowhere received a scare after the ship’s captain announced a positive Covid-19 case.
After 3 days at sea, Quantum of the Seas has to turn back to Singapore on Wednesday (9 Dec).
This comes shortly after Royal Caribbean resumed cruises just last week.
According to The Straits Times (ST), the captain informed everyone on board of the news at about 2.45am this morning (9 Dec).
Guests were told to stay in their rooms until the ship was due to arrive in Singapore by 8am the same day.
The return is ahead of schedule, as the ship was only on day 3 of a 4-day cruise.
In a press release, the Royal Caribbean Group confirmed that 1 guest aboard Quantum of the Seas has indeed tested positive for Covid-19.
They detected the case after the guest checked in with the medical team.
Close contacts were promptly isolated and tested, with all of them testing negative for the virus.
You may read the Group’s full statement here:
One guest aboard Quantum of the Seas tested positive for coronavirus after checking in with our medical team.
We identified and isolated all guests and crew who had close contact with this guest, and each of those individuals have subsequently tested negative for the virus.
The ship is returning to port today 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.
Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reports that the relevant parties have activated “emergency response plans”.
Besides immediate isolation of all close contacts, the ship will also undergo thorough cleaning.
Prior to the case, Royal Caribbean had already implemented measures like safe distancing and mask-wearing. They also conducted regular checks to ensure compliance.
Moreover, passengers had to undergo a compulsory Covid-19 test before boarding.
In a further update, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that the guest’s close contacts will have to undergo quarantine, reports ST.
Everyone else may proceed with daily activities like going to work or school, once they’ve passed the rapid antigen test upon disembarking.
They must then monitor their health for 14 days and take a swab test at the end of that period. MOH will reportedly bear the test costs.
While these guests will only get a refund for the remaining day onboard the cruise, the positive case and those travelling with them will get a full refund.
Despite the worrying news, we’re glad to know that nobody else on board has tested positive for the virus.
Thankfully, the crew’s quick actions helped to detect and isolate the case early to protect others on board.
We hope that everyone gets home safely, and wish the patient a speedy recovery.
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Featured image adapted from Royal Caribbean International.
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