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Royal Caribbean: Isolation of COVID case on Quantum shows 'system is working'

Passengers will be allowed to leave the ship once a review of contact tracing is completed
Dec. 9 update: In what it termed an 'overabundance of caution,' Royal Caribbean International canceled the Dec. 10 sailing and plans to resume operation Dec. 14.

Quantum of the Seas returned to Singapore with one passenger testing positive for coronavirus after checking in with the medical team. 

'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,' Royal Caribbean said in a statement.

The passenger, 83, tested negative pre-cruise

The passenger, 83, had reported to the shipboard medical center with diarrhoea and underwent a mandatory PCR test as part of the on-board protocols, according to Annie Chang, director, cruise, Singapore Tourism Board. He had taken a mandatory PCR test prior to boarding and was negative.

Singapore requires travelers to use an app or carry a government-issued token for distancing and contact tracing. In addition, Royal Caribbean issues travelers and crew its own Tracelet to wear on board to assist with contact tracing.

Travelers will go home after review of contact tracing

The cruise had departed on Monday. On Wednesday morning the ship returned to port 'in accordance with government protocols and will debark guests after a review of contact tracing is completed,' the cruise line's statement continued.

Meanwhile, passengers are confined to their cabins. Singapore-based journalist Heidi Sarna, who's on board, said she's been told that those not identified as a contact will get an antigen test in the terminal and then are free to go, no quarantining required. However, travelers will be asked to get a PCR test 14 days after they disembark. 

Royal Caribbean said it is in communication with the Singapore government and appreciates their guidance 'as we work together to protect the health and safety of our guests and crew.'

The line worked closely with the government to develop a thorough system that tests and monitors everyone on board and follows public health best practices.

'The system is working as it was designed to do'

'That we were able to quickly identify this single case and take immediate action is a sign that the system is working as it was designed to do,' Royal Caribbean said.

Dec. 1 restart

Quantum of the Seas resumed sailing from Singapore on Dec. 1 with short cruises to nowhere, carrying only Singaporeans. For the Royal Caribbean brand, this is the first service since the pandemic shutdown.

Travelers must get tested within 48 to 72 hours prior to boarding and again at disembarkation. 

According to protocols outlined in The Royal Promise, passengers get a full refund if they or any member of their travel party tests positive during their voyage.