Covid fright on cruise ship highlights the dangers of starting tourism again

Published on : Saturday, December 12, 2020

Just two months back, the optimism was on display when Ong Ye Kung, Singapore Transport Minister promised to reopen the city-state and its tourism-reliant economy have suffering heavily after the detection of a possible local coronavirus case on board one of Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd.’s ships. The 1,680 passengers on Quantum of the Seas, in the early hours of Wednesday morning, relishing day three of a four-day cruise to nowhere — and 1,148 crew were made vigilant to a declaration that a probable Covid-19 case had been discovered, the journey was made short and everyone was requested to remain in their staterooms.


It was the second impact in as many months after the air travel bubble with Hong Kong was axed before it even started, leaving would-be travelers on both sides of the South China Sea literally cut off, their expectation of family reunion without quarantine dashed. Some people on Wednesday on the ship, now back at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre, took to their balconies for fresh air, docked but isolated as a difficult way of contact tracing and testing gets in progress.


In a subsequent test, an 83-year-old male who was tested positive was found to be negative though health officials are all set to carry on some other tests, Singapore Ministry of Health said. All passengers had disembarked by late Wednesday,. They were tested before they were allowed to leave the terminal.


On Quantum of the Seas, all 2,828 people had tested negative when the ship departed Dec. 7th, as per a recent statement from the Singapore Tourism Board. Also, there was increased sanitization and improved fresh air circulation.


Ultimately, safety steps like mask-wearing all the time, social distancing and buffets staffed by servers in protective gear proved insufficient in combating the pandemic that’s still raging in Europe and the U.S. Worldwide, over 68 million people have been infected and some 1.6 million are dead.


Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said the case onboard was “not unexpected,” as per a ChannelNewsAsia report, and that the government was ready. The public can be guaranteed that such incidents can be handled correctly with the protocols that have been put in place, he said.


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