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83-year-old cruise passenger tests negative twice for COVID-19 after initial positive result

83-year-old cruise passenger tests negative twice for COVID-19 after initial positive result

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas cruise ship docked at Marina Bay Cruise Centre on Dec 9, 2020. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: Two further COVID-19 tests for an 83-year-old cruise passenger who tested positive for the virus have come back negative, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (Dec 9) night. 

The man, who was a passenger on Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas, tested positive for COVID-19 while on board the vessel.

The man had reported on Tuesday evening to the ship's medical centre with diarrhoea. He was tested for COVID-19 using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test equipment on board the ship as part of the protocols, said MOH. 

After returning to Singapore, the man had his original sample re-tested at the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL), and a second sample was taken for confirmatory tests. 

READ: Royal Caribbean cancels Dec 10 cruise after passenger on earlier trip tests positive for COVID-19

Both samples came back negative, said MOH. 

Another test will be conducted on Thursday to confirm the man's COVID-19 status, the health ministry added. 

All identified close contacts of the man were isolated as a precautionary measure. 

"As part of the routine post-arrival protocols, all passengers will undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing before they are allowed to leave the terminal at Marina Bay Cruise Centre," said MOH. 

As of Wednesday, Singapore has reported a total of 58,291 COVID-19 cases.

The Quantum of the Seas ship began sailing again this month as part of a pilot scheme that allows round-trips with no ports of call.

Royal Caribbean International said in a separate statement that all guests and crew members who had close contact with the man have been identified, isolated and subsequently tested negative for the virus.

READ: Royal Caribbean COVID-19 case 'not unexpected', Government prepared for it: Chan Chun Sing

Prior to boarding the ship on Monday, all 1,680 passengers and 1,148 crew members had cleared a mandatory PCR test for COVID-19, said Ms Annie Chang, Singapore Tourism Board's director for cruise development.

On Wednesday, Royal Caribbean said it has decided to cancel its Quantum of the Seas cruise on Thursday (Dec 10) "in an overabundance of caution". 

The decision comes after Royal Caribbean said earlier in the day that the Thursday sailing would proceed as scheduled.

Sailings will resume on Dec 14, said Royal Caribbean in an email on Wednesday evening.

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Source: CNA/lk(ac)

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