The elderly Singaporean who tested positive for the coronavirus onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship has been taken to hospital for further tests while remaining passengers prepare to disembark at 7:30pm.
Samples from the 83-year-old man would undergo two more tests and if both results come back positive, the Singaporean would be added to today’s count of new coronavirus cases.
The nearly 3,000 people on the Quantum of the Seas ship, who were previously told that they were not allowed to disembark until contact tracing efforts were completed and after another cruise ship welcomed all of its passengers, were informed at nearly 7pm today that they could prepare to leave the ship from 7:30pm.
“Your room attendant will knock on your door and inform you to proceed to the gateway. We will measure the temperature of all guests as you disembark this ship,” the captain was heard as saying. “Once again, ladies and gentleman I do thank you for your patience, cooperation and understanding and I am terribly sorry that the cruise had to end a day early and in this way.”
The Health Ministry also confirmed in its latest statement that the infected passenger was a man.
“His sample will be re-tested at the National Public Health Laboratory, and a second sample will be taken for confirmatory tests,” the ministry said. “If further tests also come back positive for COVID-19 infection, he will be included as a case in our daily case count,” it added. Singapore reported six new COVID-19 cases today, all of which involved individuals from abroad.
Photos posted to social media showed an ambulance leaving the cruise center after 2pm.
The Singapore Tourism Board told reporters in the afternoon that Royal Caribbean passengers would not be allowed to disembark until after another cruise ship, Genting Cruise Line’s World Dream, completed its embarkation, which was expected to happen at 6pm.
“They will also have to remain on the ship until Genting Cruise Line’s World Dream completes embarking all passengers for its next sailing. This is to prevent any intermingling between any passengers or crew from both ships,” Annie Chang, the board’s director of cruises, said.
The four-day voyage of the Royal Caribbean ended a day earlier today after it found that one of its passengers had contracted COVID-19 following complaints of diarrhea. All passengers tested negative for COVID-19 before boarding on Dec. 7, according to the tourism board.
The ship, which carried 1,680 guests and 1,148 crew members, had been waiting at the Marina Bay Cruise Center since it arrived at 8am.