Cruise ship docks in Singapore after hundreds of passengers and crew members fall ill

Cruise ship docks in Singapore after hundreds of passengers and crew members fall ill

Japan's largest travel agency, JTB, has chartered the 1,011-cabin Sun Princess for the Olympic
File photo of the Sun Princess. (Photo: AFP/Behrouz Mehri)

SINGAPORE: A cruise ship on the way to Vietnam from Thailand docked in Singapore this week after 229 of its passengers and crew members fell ill, according to a joint statement issued on Friday (Nov 15). 

The affected people suffered a gastrointestinal illness, with symptoms like vomiting and diarrhoea, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Ministry of Health and Singapore Food Agency in response to CNA's queries. 

The MV Sun Princess was travelling from Phuket to Ho Chi Minh City when it made the stop in Singapore on Wednesday at around 5.30am. The MPA had been informed of the outbreak on Monday morning. 

Out of the passengers and crew members affected, 189 recovered, according to the Friday statement. Sixteen of the remaining affected disembarked and terminated their cruise in Singapore. 

"There was no mass evacuation of the MV Sun Princess in Singapore and most of the passengers had disembarked for a short day tour in Singapore," the statement added.

Responding to CNA's queries, MOH said on Saturday that the outbreak was caused by norovirus. "It can be prevented from spreading with good personal hygiene. In general, there is no need to impose strict isolation or quarantine measures on persons with norovirus infection in the general population," the ministry said. 

There were no Singaporeans among those affected.

The MPA, MOH and SFA conducted a joint inspection of the cruise on Wednesday. MOH also worked with the cruise operator to ensure that proper infection prevention and control were implemented. 

Additionally, it provided all passengers with a health advisory with information on how to look out for symptoms of the disease as well as protection and prevention measures. 

MV Sun Princess left Singapore for Ho Chi Minh City at 5.30pm on Wednesday. 

On Saturday, MOH said that the 16 passengers who disembarked were managed in "outpatient settings" and assessed by a doctor to be fit for onward travel. Eight passengers have left Singapore as of Friday. 

This story has been updated to include a recent response from the Ministry of Health. 

Source: CNA/hs

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