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Suspected re-positive case leaves ‘Spectrum of Seas’ cruise going nowhere

22 October 2021

By The SUN 

Over 1,000 passengers of the cruise ship had already boarded when the cruise was canceled

Hong Kong’s vaunted “cruise to nowhere” for about 1,200 people was halted last night, Oct 21, as a male crew was suspected by health officials to be a re-positive case after crew members of Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas were tested.

More than 1,000 passengers had already boarded the ship at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal at 7pm Thursday when the cruise was canceled.

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The Centre for Health Protection, meanwhile, said today it was investigating two new confirmed coronavirus cases carrying the L452R variant. One was a Filipina domestic helper aged 43 and the other a woman from Maldives aged 31.

The Filipina arrived via 5J272 on Oct 18 and was in quarantine at Penny’s Bay when found infected. The woman from Maldives tested positive in a public hospital where she accompanied her 8-year-old daughter who got sick earlier. They both arrived in Hong Kong on Oct 13 via QR818.

The suspected re-positive involving the 40-year-old male crew was not included in today’s list of confirmed infections.

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A government press release said the man tested positive for Covid-19 in Malaysia in July.

He arrived in Hong Kong in August and tested negative more than 10 times upon arrival from cruises.

But his sample collected on Oct 19 on board the ship tested positive with a very low viral load. He has been asymptomatic.

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As the man also worked on the Spectrum of the Seas on two other trips this month, people who had been on board between Sept 30 and Oct 21 are required to undergo testing by tomorrow, Saturday.

The cancellation was in accordance with the contingency management mechanism devised for “cruise to nowhere” itineraries by the TC, the DH and Royal Caribbean.

As soon as the CHP announced that it was investigating the suspected re-positive overseas case, the operator immediately cancelled the sailing.

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The DH has separately announced the testing and quarantine arrangements for passengers and crew members of the cruise ship. The TC has all along been closely working and following up with Royal Caribbean, the press release said.

The cruise company had arranged an orderly departure of the affected passengers from the terminal and informed them of the refund or rescheduling arrangements.

The spokesperson said CTN itineraries are subject to a set of stringent health precautionary measures to cope with the epidemic risks.

This means all passengers and crew must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and must undergo polymerase chain reaction-based, or PCR, nucleic acid tests within 48 hours before sailing and at regular intervals, and receive negative results.

Cruise companies and passengers are also required to strictly comply with the respective anti-epidemic measures for cruise ships and various relevant premises.

Should there be a suspected case on board after the cruise ship has left, the journey will be suspended at once and the vessel has to return to Hong Kong.

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