Cruise to nowhere cut short

AN ocean liner on a “cruise to nowhere” was forced to make an earlier-than-scheduled return to Singapore after a coronavirus case was detected on board, reports said.

The cruises – starting and ending in Singapore, with no stops – were launched last year as part of the travel industry’s attempt to bounce back from a pandemic-induced crunch.

They have proved popular among those seeking an escape from the tiny city-state, which has only had a mild outbreak but largely kept its borders closed.

The Dream Cruises ship returned to Singapore early yesterday, several hours earlier than planned, after the case was found.

Passengers on board were informed in the early hours that a guest had tested positive and told to return to their rooms, broadcaster CNA said, quoting a passenger.

A passenger was reported to have been in close contact with a Covid-19 case before boarding the cruise, Dream Cruises said in a notice to passengers seen by The Straits Times.

The identified guest was reported to have received both Covid-19 vaccination doses and the pre-boarding antigen rapid test returned negative for the coronavirus on the day of departure, said the notice yesterday. The guest had undergone Covid-19 testing on the ship and is suspected to be positive on Tuesday.

Travelling companions and close contacts had also undergone Covid-19 testing on board with negative results.

The Straits Times reported that the suspected case will undergo further examination and testing by the authorities.

The ship, owned and operated by Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group, left Singapore on Sunday evening for the four-day cruise.

Genting did not immediately respond to AFP’s request for a comment.

The company has introduced a raft of safety measures on board, including regularly disinfecting public areas.

A “cruise to nowhere” was also cut short in December after an elderly man tested positive.

However, that case proved to be a false alarm, with subsequent results coming back negative.

The cruise industry worldwide is struggling to get back on its feet after voyages were halted at the start of the pandemic. — Agencies

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