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Close contacts of cruise passenger who tested positive for COVID-19 have quarantine orders rescinded after third negative test

Close contacts of cruise passenger who tested positive for COVID-19 have quarantine orders rescinded after third negative test

Workers in personal protective equipment at Marina Bay Cruise Centre on Dec 9, 2020. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: Quarantine orders have been rescinded for the close contacts of an 83-year-old Royal Caribbean cruise passenger who initially tested positive for COVID-19, but has since tested negative three times, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Thursday (Dec 10) afternoon.

Quarantine orders had been placed on close contacts of the 83-year-old man as a "precautionary measure" while investigations were ongoing, MOH added. The close contacts had been identified and tested negative for COVID-19, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said on Wednesday.

A final confirmatory test conducted by the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) on Thursday confirmed that the 83-year-old who was on board the Quantum of the Seas cruise does not have COVID-19, said the health ministry.

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

“The sample taken from the individual this morning came back negative for the virus. This follows two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests conducted yesterday by NPHL, one on a re-test of his original sample, and the other on a fresh sample taken yesterday, which had also come back negative,” said MOH on Thursday.

MOH said on Thursday it would support the laboratory on board the Quantum of the Seas in its review of its testing processes.

On Wednesday morning, Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas ship returned to Singapore a day ahead of schedule after the 83-year-old passenger tested positive for COVID-19 while on board the vessel.

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

READ: Royal Caribbean cruise passengers disembark from ship where man tested positive for COVID-19

The other passengers on the cruise were told to isolate in their rooms after the man had tested positive. They were allowed to disembark about 12 hours after the ship docked in Singapore.

Singapore Tourism Board said on Wednesday afternoon that passengers on the ship would undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing before leaving the terminal as part of regular post-arrival protocols.

As a precautionary measure, they are also required to monitor their health for 14 days from the date of disembarkation and undergo a swab test at a designated government swabbing facility at the end of the monitoring period.

READ: ‘Definitely I’ll go again’: Some Royal Caribbean passengers say no regrets going on cruise that was cut short by COVID-19 case

On Wednesday evening, Royal Caribbean said it would cancel its Quantum of the Seas cruise on Thursday "in an overabundance of caution". The decision comes after Royal Caribbean said earlier on Wednesday 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/mi(ac)

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