It took mere minutes yesterday for major outlets to pick up the story of the single suspected Covid case onboard Quantum of the Seas. Once again it seemed as though an outbreak had happened onboard the vessel, with extremely sensational headlines from the mainstream media. As it turns out, the gentleman has now been confirmed to be negative for COVID -19 and no cases were found so far.
This is certainly good news for the guest, the cruise line, and the Singaporean government’s experiment to resume cruising. The global reaction from the media shows once again that the cruise industry will need to be extremely careful with sailings, as the mainstream media is quick to jump on any mention of the virus onboard ships.
The cruise lines have been extremely thorough and dedicated to ensure safety onboard the vessels at all times. The fact that a false positive was detected is great news, as it shows proper procedures are in place.
The fact that Royal Caribbean decided to immediately return to port, and cancel the subsequent voyage seems to be based more on the press that the line received, then the fact that clearly, the health measures onboard are working as they should.
The 83-year-old male Singaporean national who tested positive for Covid-19 infection on Dec. 9 morning, and was immediately isolated, has now re-tested negative for COVID-19. This was made clear by the Singapore government in a statement earlier today.
The man had suffered from diarrhea and reported to the medical center, and as part of the onboard protocols was tested for Covid-19 using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test equipment onboard the ship.
His original sample has since been re-tested at the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL), and has come back negative for Covid-19 infection. A second fresh sample tested by NPHL has also come back negative.
Why the Cancelations Spells Bad News For Other Voyages
We live in a time when cruise lines are extremely vulnerable to negative media coverage. With stock prices at an all-time low, any bad news will have serious implications.
That being said, the cruise lines have spent millions on modifying vessels, and ensuring the ships are safe to sail by providing COVID tests for all, enhanced measures onboard, while implementing isolation areas onboard for positive or suspected cases of COVID-19.
The cruise line made the decision not to re-test onboard, but to return to port and have everyone re-tested. Why it has now decided to cancel its subsequent voyage remains entirely unclear.
The hope is that Royal Caribbean will believe in their procedures, trust them, and work with them. Otherwise, we will end up with cancelations due to COVID on more and more voyages.
And surely, the procedures are not designed that voyages are canceled each time an infection is found onboard? If so, the trust people will have in booking cruises will not get much better.
Worth Reading: How to Protect Yourself During a Cruise
In the meantime, we can only rejoice on the fact that the gentleman has tested negative, both for his sake and for those involved with the resumption of cruises in Singapore. The one thing that we can take away from this is that Health procedures onboard ships in relation to Covid-19 have stood up to the test for months now.
Photo Credit: Mohd Syis Zulkipli / Shutterstock.com