Singapore ‘cruise to nowhere’ cut short after virus case

A “cruise to nowhere” off Singapore was cut short Wednesday after a passenger tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said, a blow to efforts to revive the hard-hit industry.

The voyages — starting and ending at the city-state with no stops — began last month, marking the resumption of cruises after a months-long hiatus due to travel restrictions.

But early Wednesday morning the holiday calm was shattered by an announcement the cruise was being cut short after an 83-year-old male passenger had tested positive.

“One guest aboard Quantum of the Seas tested positive for coronavirus after checking in with our medical team,” operator Royal Caribbean said in a statement.

“We identified and isolated all guests and crew who had close contact with this guest, and each of those individuals have subsequently tested negative for the virus.”

The vessel had 1,680 guests and 1,148 crew on board, and arrived early morning in the city-state after turning back on day three of a four-day cruise.

The Singapore tourism board said all on-board leisure activities were halted and passengers were asked to stay in their cabins.

Passengers and crew remained on board until contract tracing was complete, and disembarked Wednesday evening, Singapore broadcaster CNA reported.

They had to take a Covid-19 test at the cruise terminal before heading home, and will need to take another 14 days later, officials said.

The “cruises to nowhere” have proved a hit in tiny Singapore after people were unable to go on overseas holidays for months due to travel restrictions.

A raft of safety measures had been rolled out to prevent virus outbreaks, such as disinfecting public areas and reducing the number of passengers on board.

But some had warned of the potential for the virus to spread on the liner after several vessels were hit with outbreaks earlier this year.

The cancellation is the latest blow to the finance hub’s travel industry, after a “bubble” allowing travel between Singapore and Hong Kong without quarantine was delayed indefinitely after the Chinese city reported a spike in virus cases. (AFP)