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Coronavirus scare on Singapore cruise ship was false alarm, authorities say

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Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas cruise ship docks at Marina Bay Cruise Heart after a passenger examined what later turned out to be a false optimistic for COVID-19 throughout a “cruise to nowhere”, in Singapore

A suspected COVID-19 case aboard a “cruise-to-nowhere” from Singapore which compelled the ship to return to dock and practically 1,700 visitors to isolate was a false alarm, the federal government mentioned on Thursday.

Passengers on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas vessel have been held of their cabins for greater than 16 hours on Wednesday after an 83-year-old man was examined optimistic for COVID-19 aboard the ship when he sought medical assist for diarrhoea.

However Singapore’s well being ministry mentioned on Thursday the person didn’t have the virus after three subsequent assessments on land got here again destructive.

Whereas authorities praised the response to the incident, tourism consultants mentioned it highlighted testing frailties and the burden that places on companies making an attempt to renew operations even in a rustic that has largely tamed the virus.

“We have now to stay with less-than-perfect testing kits,” mentioned Michael Chiam, a senior tourism lecturer at Singapore’s Ngee Ann Polytechnic. “This can be pricey to companies.”

The well being ministry mentioned shut contacts of the visitor to would now not have to quarantine and that it will assist evaluate testing processes aboard the ship.

Miami-based Royal Caribbean, which had simply began providing the journeys after it halted international operations in March as a result of pandemic, mentioned in a press release it welcomed the information and that it will work to “refine” its protocols.

The cruises-to-nowhere have been a part of Singapore’s efforts to revive a tourism trade which has been battered by the pandemic as borders all over the world have closed.

Singapore’s tourism board chief Keith Tan mentioned the cruise incident was a studying expertise but in addition a validation of precautions like pre-departure testing and necessities that visitors carry an digital contact tracing gadget always.

The mishap can be carefully watched by different corporations counting on testing like occasion venues and airways, mentioned Sherri Kimes of the Nationwide College of Singapore’s Enterprise College.

Town-state, which has reported solely a handful of instances in current weeks, is rolling out fast antigen assessments for big occasions corresponding to weddings and enterprise conferences.

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