In yet another blow to the flailing travel industry, a “cruise to nowhere” set off from Singapore’s shores was called back Wednesday after a passenger on-board tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The voyages — starting and ending at the city-state with no stops — sailed off last month, marking the revival of cruises after a months-long hiatus due to travel restrictions.
But early Wednesday morning the disaster struck the resumption efforts with the announcement that the cruise was being cut short after an 83-year-old passenger had tested positive.
“One guest aboard Quantum of the Seas tested positive for coronavirus after checking in with our medical team,” operator Royal Caribbean said in a statement.
“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 vessel carried some 1,680 guests and 1,148 crew, and arrived early morning in the city-state after turning back on day three of a four-day cruise.
The Singapore tourism board added that all leisure activities were halted and passengers were asked to isolate in their cabins.
Passengers and crew are slated to remain onboard until contact tracing is complete, and will undergo mandatory virus tests before leaving the cruise terminal.
The “cruises to nowhere” had provided a small shred of normality to Singaporeans after citizens were unable to set off on vacations for months due to travel restrictions.
A stream of safety measures had been rolled out on board to prevent infections, such as sanitisation of public areas and thinning the number of passengers on board.
But critics had warned of the potential for the virus to spread on the liner after several vessels had been struck with outbreaks earlier this year.
The cancellation is the latest blow to the finance hub’s travel industry, after a “bubble” permitting flights between Singapore and Hong Kong without quarantine has been delayed indefinitely with the Chinese city reporting a sudden surge in coronavirus cases.
[Sourced from Agencies]