Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said on Dec. 9 that the Covid-19 case on board the Royal Caribbean cruise ship was “not unexpected” and that the Singapore government was prepared for it.
Chan told reporters on the sidelines during his visit to the Siemens Advance Manufacturing Transformation Center: “When we embarked on this pilot, I think we never thought that such things will never happen."
"We have always made the assumption that someday, something may happen.”
“That's why it's important for us to have a protocol to make sure that if something like that happens, we are able to contact trace quickly, isolate the cases necessary, and for the rest of the activities to continue.”
Can be managed with protocols
Chan also assured the public that such incidents can be managed properly with protocols in place.
He added: “Today is an example of how we have detected that case.”
“So this is not unexpected."
"In fact, precisely because we were concerned that such things may happen, we have put in place the necessary protocols.”
He also said that this incident is an example of how Singapore will manage risks from the resumption of economic activities, as Singapore works on the basis of risk management rather risk elimination strategy.
He said: "Because the risk elimination strategy, zero risk means not to do anything. And that would not be compatible with our overall strategy.”
Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas ship returned to Singapore on Dec. 9 a day ahead of schedule after an 83-year-old passenger tested positive for Covid-19.
The ship began sailing again in December 2020.
The cruises to nowhere were part of a pilot scheme with Singapore residents only and limited to a maximum capacity of 50 per cent.
Guests were made to take pre-departure and post-arrival Covid-19 tests.
The TraceTogether token or have the app have to be used at all times and masks worn on board the ship.
The passenger who tested positive was immediately isolated and his initial close contacts were identified and isolated.
These contacts have since tested negative for Covid-19 and further contact tracing is ongoing.
Those not in close contact could leave the ship and go about usual activities.
The passengers will also be refunded on a pro-rated basis.
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