A passenger who tested positive for COVID-19 aboard a “ cruise to nowhere ” was found not to have the virus.
A passenger who tested positive for COVID-19 aboard a ‘cruise to nowhere’ from Singapore, forcing the ship to return to the dock and nearly 1,700 guests to self-isolate, was found not to have the virus.
Passengers on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas ship were held in their cabins for more than 16 hours on Wednesday after an 83-year-old man, who sought medical help on the ship for diarrhea, was tested positive for COVID-19.
When the ship returned to port on Wednesday, the passenger was taken to hospital where he underwent two more tests that did not reveal the infection.
A third negative test on Thursday led the authorities to declare it virus-free.
“A final confirmatory test … confirmed that the 83-year-old Singaporean … does not have a COVID-19 infection,” Singapore’s health ministry said on Thursday, adding it would help revise processes for test on board the ship.
All guests and crew who had come into close contact with the patient would no longer have to self-quarantine as previously reported, the ministry said.
Royal Caribbean said in a statement that it welcomes the news and will continue to work with the government to “refine” its protocols.
The global cruise industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, with some of the first major epidemics found on cruise ships.
In February, off the coast of Japan, passengers were stranded for weeks aboard the Diamond Princess, with more than 700 guests and crew contracting the virus.
The new precautions involve pre-departure testing and requirements that customers wear an electronic contact tracing device, wear masks and keep their distance at all times.
Authorities said the incident was a learning experience and a validation of the security protocols in place.
“Yesterday’s incident gave us valuable lessons for future navigations … it also gave assurance that our established response to any future COVID-19 case is swift and effective,” said the head of the Keith Tan tourist office.
Singapore, which has recorded more than 58,000 cases and 29 deaths, has reported fewer than a handful of local infections in recent weeks.