Costa Fortuna cruise passengers to undergo health checks when disembarking in Singapore

Costa Fortuna cruise passengers to undergo health checks when disembarking in Singapore

All passengers aboard the Costa Fortuna cruise ship will undergo health checks when they disembark in Singapore on Tuesday (Mar 10),  the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said on Monday. Ahmad Khan reports.

SINGAPORE: All passengers aboard the Costa Fortuna cruise ship disembarking in Singapore this week will undergo health checks, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on Monday (Mar 10). 

In a joint media release, the authorities said the cruise ship will dock in Singapore on Tuesday as part of a scheduled call. After first departing Singapore on Mar 3, the ship had been turned away from other ports in its itinerary in Malaysia and Thailand. 

Singapore's cruise terminals remain open to scheduled cruise calls out of Singapore, said MPA and STB, adding that unscheduled calls have not been allowed since Feb 24.

Costa Fortuna, which has a home port in Singapore, has declared that none of the passengers aboard the ship have fever or other symptoms of respiratory illness, said the authorities. 

The ship's operator Costa Crociere said on Monday there are no suspected coronavirus cases among its guests, which includes Italians.

Italy has registered the highest COVID-19 death toll outside of China, with the number of deaths in the country soaring to 366 on Sunday.

READ: Malaysia, Thailand bar cruise ship over COVID-19 fears

All passengers had embarked from Singapore and completed pre-embarkation checks "based on prevailing policies for travel history and temperature screening" as required by the cruise line and the terminal operator before boarding, they added. 

Before disembarking the ship on Tuesday, passengers and crew members will be checked by a doctor on board to ensure they are healthy, said MPA and STB. 

"All passengers entering Singapore are required to undergo temperature screening as a precautionary measure," the media release added. 

"Additionally, passengers entering Singapore and exhibiting fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness but who do not meet the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) clinical definition may be required to undergo a COVID-19 swab test."

Passengers who are identified for COVID-19 swab testing but refuse to do so will not be allowed entry into Singapore, said the authorities.

READ: New COVID-19 test kits used to screen swab samples collected at Singapore checkpoints

PASSENGERS WITH NO SYMPTOMS TO BE TAKEN "DIRECTLY TO AIRPORT"

In a statement released later on Monday evening, STB, MPA and MOH said that passengers who have no symptoms will be taken "directly to the airport for their onward flights", while those who exhibit fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness will be taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases. 

It added that those who exhibit fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness will be directly to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases. 

"After Costa Fortuna berths, doctors licensed by MOH will conduct enhanced, one-on-one checks on passengers who have recent travel history to northern Italy within the last 14 days," said the joint release.

Costa Fortuna has not picked up any new passengers since it left Singapore on Mar 3, authorities said, adding that it was disinfected prior to its departure. 

They also said that Singapore has handled more than 10 scheduled calls by cruise ships in the past two weeks, with more than 5,000 passengers disembarked. 

READ: Italy has highest COVID-19 fatalities after China as death toll triples

The cruise ship was turned away from the popular Thai holiday island of Phuket on Friday, and was also barred from docking in Malaysia.

On Saturday, it tried to dock in Penang but was refused entry, local politician Phee Boon Poh told AFP. The ship is carrying 64 Italians, according to Malaysian officials.

Costa Crociere said it would cancel a cruise due to depart on Mar 10 from Singapore.

The Costa Fortuna is scheduled to arrive at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore at 9am on Tuesday, according to the cruise centre's website.

There are at least three more scheduled cruise ship arrivals in Singapore in the next week, according to arrivals information on the Singapore Cruise Centre and Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore's websites.

Including the Costa Fortuna's call on Tuesday, there are at least 13 cruise ship arrivals scheduled in Singapore for the rest of the month, as of Monday afternoon.

The novel coronavirus first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan but has since spread to more than 100 countries around the world.

As of Sunday, there have been 160 cases of COVID-19 in Singapore. A total of 93 patients have fully recovered. 

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Source: CNA/agencies/nc(mi)

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