An 83-year-old Singaporean passenger aboard a "cruise to nowhere" has re-tested negative for coronavirus after a false positive halted the voyage, Singapore’s Ministry of Health said Thursday.
The man had initially tested positive for the virus while aboard the Quantum of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean International, and was transported to a nearby hospital.
That test has now been re-classed as negative, Singaporean authorities said in a statement.
How the story unfolded: The ship had been hosting a three-night, four-day “cruise to nowhere” itinerary around Singapore, as part of a program to reinvigorate domestic travel in Singapore amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
Close contacts of the individual in question were quarantined while a number of other passengers and crew members were forced to stay on board while contact-tracing took place.
“We have rescinded the Quarantine Orders of his close contacts, who had earlier been placed in quarantine as a precautionary measure while investigations were ongoing,” the statement read.
According to the Singapore Tourism Board, all 1,680 passengers and 1,148 crew members had tested negative for coronavirus when the cruise ship departed on December 7.
In a statement, Royal Caribbean International said the cruise line has worked closely with the government to develop a “thorough system” to test and monitor all guests and crew, and maintain public health best practices.
"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," a Royal Caribbean representative said.
Under new protocols, the cruise had been operating with reduced occupancy, with mandatory universal testing and mask wearing enforced, as well as physical distancing and enhanced cleaning practices.
Only Singaporean citizens were allowed to buy tickets for the cruise, and crew members from around the world spent 14 days quarantining in the city-state in order to be cleared for working.