Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas cruise ship docks at Marina Bay Cruise Center in Singapore. Edgar Su/Reuters
Gulf Today Report
Nearly 1,700 passengers on a Royal Caribbean 'cruise-to-nowhere' from Singapore were told to stay in their cabins after a passenger on board was diagnosed with the coronavirus, prompting the vessel to return early to Singapore on Wednesday.
All passengers had cleared a mandatory polymerase chain reaction test for COVID-19 up to three days before the cruise started on Monday, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said.
Royal Carribbean said in a statement that a guest on the Quantum of the Seas ship "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," it said.
The ship returned to port in accordance with government protocols, and will allow guests to leave after a review of contact tracing is completed, it said.
Singapore has been trialing the trips, which are, open only to residents, make no stops and sail in waters just off the city-state. There were around 2,000 passengers aboard at the time who have all been told to return to their rooms, according to media reports.
The global cruise industry has taken a major hit from the coronavirus pandemic, with some of the earliest big outbreaks found on cruise ships.
“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,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement.
“The ship is returning to port today...and will debark guests after a review of contact tracing is completed.”
The tiny Southeast Asian nation has confirmed over 28,000 cases of the disease, one of the highest tallies in Asia, and is under lockdown until June 1. The death toll in Singapore stands at 22.
Following an agreement between the governments of Uruguay and Australia, about 110 passengers began disembarking from the Greg Mortimer before they were due to be taken along a "sanitary corridor" to Montevideo's international airport, where they will take a medically equipped charter flight to Melbourne.
The country of 5 million people now has nine active cases after having none at all earlier this month. Health officials said Monday that all those cases involve people who have recently arrived and are in quarantine, and there’s no evidence of community transmission.
The latest phase of these repatriation flights, known as the "Vande Bharat Mission," began on March 1 and will last till March 28. Slightly more than 1,350 international flights are scheduled to be operated from 28 countries in this phase, enabling an estimated 260,000 Indians to travel home.
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Pope Francis also urged Iraqi officials to "combat the scourge of corruption, misuse of power and disregard for law," in a country consistently ranked one of the most graft-tainted by Transparency International.