CruiseCovid-19 scare a false alarm but shows 'robustness' of Singapore's cruise protocols, says authorities.

Update: Royal Caribbean passenger does not have Covid

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Cruise Covid case underscores importance of immediate contact tracing protocols that are implemented as part of Singapore's cruise restart.
Cruise Covid case underscores importance of immediate contact tracing protocols that are implemented as part of Singapore's cruise restart. Photo Credit: Natalie Joy Lee

A passenger on Royal Caribbean International's Quantum of the Seas who initially tested positive for Covid-19 has since tested negative twice for the virus, revealed a final confirmatory test conducted by the National Public Health Laboratory on Thursday. 

Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas on Wednesday cut short its four-day itinerary, arriving back in Singapore's shores on 9 December after a suspected Covid-19 case was found.

The cruise line said all guests and crew who had close contact with the guest have since been isolated, and that each of these individuals had tested negative for the coronavirus.

Remaining guests on board had remained in their rooms until contact tracing procedures were completed, and had underwent mandatory Covid-19 testing before leaving the cruise terminal.

Royal Caribbean has decided to cancel its Quantum of the Seas cruise on 10 December "in an overabundance of caution". Sailings will resume on 14 December, said the cruise line.

The protocols taken after the Royal Caribbean cruise passenger initially tested positive for Covid-19, before testing negative twice, was a reflection of the "robustness" of the system, Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing told reporters Thursday during a virtual press conference.

"From yesterday's experience, it shows the robustness of the system that once you find out that there is a positive - whether it is a real positive or false positive - you immediately swing into action to do subsequent tests, you do isolation, you do contact tracing," Chan was reported as saying by a Channel News Asia (CNA) report. 

"So while yesterday might have turned out to be a false alarm, it has actually allowed the cruise industry to test the entire protocols to see how we can do this well and do this better," he added. 

The minister had earlier said that the possible Covid-19 case was “not unexpected” and the Singapore government was prepared for it.

Chan also pointed out how the cruise case underscores the importance of immediate contact tracing protocols "to make sure that we can assure ourselves and assure the public that something like that can be managed", CNA earlier reported. 

With the health and safety protocols that have been put in place for the cruising industry, he also assured the public that such incidents can be managed properly.

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