Officials Confirm Passenger Said to Have Contracted COVID-19 on Royal Caribbean Cruise Had a False-positive Test

This was the ship’s third sailing since it resumed “ocean getaway voyages” with no port calls.

Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas
The Royal Caribbean cruise ship Quantum of the Seas is seen docked at Marina Bay Cruise Centre in Singapore. . Photo: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images

A Royal Caribbean ship in Singapore that had been forced to turn around after reporting a positive case of COVID-19, has confirmed the passenger did not actually have the virus.

Singaporean officials confirmed to CNN this week that the 83-year-old man who tested positive reported a false positive test.

Following protocol after the initial news of his testing positive earlier this week, fellow passengers in close contact with him were placed under quarantine and the crew began a contact tracing process. The quarantined passengers will be compensated for the days of travel they missed, the cruise line told CNN.

"We have rescinded the Quarantine Orders of his close contacts, who had earlier been placed on quarantine as a precautionary measure while investigations were ongoing," Royal Caribbean said in a statement.

This was the ship's third sailing since it resumed "ocean getaway voyages" with no port calls. The ship, which was operating at 50% capacity, had left Singapore on Dec. 7 and was in its second day of sailing when the supposed case was discovered, Cruise Critic reported.

Passengers and crew who are not considered close contacts with the thought to be infected guest (1,679 passengers and 1,148 crew) remained on the ship and were allowed to disembark and were not forced to isolate.

In order to board the ship, passengers were required to test negative for COVID-19 within three days of the start of the trip and wear a contact tracing-enabled wristband while on board. Only Singapore residents were allowed to board.

The cruise line relaunched sailings in Singapore, but has cancelled most of its planned itineraries elsewhere through Feb. 28. And while Royal Caribbean is looking for volunteers to test new health protocols in the U.S. (part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 'Conditional Sail' Order), it was not immediately clear when those would take place.

Royal Caribbean isn't alone in trying to resume sailings only for those efforts to be stymied by an outbreak of the virus on board. SeaDream Yacht Club restarted sailings in the Caribbean last month, but was forced to turn around when several passengers and crew tested positive for coronavirus.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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