1,700 guests undergo COVID-19 tests as Singapore resumes cruise services to revive tourism industry

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Singapore, Nov 6 (PTI) Close to 1,700 guests on a cruise liner in Singapore underwent COVID-19 tests on Friday as the country resumed cruise services to revive its tourism industry battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Genting Cruise Lines’ World Dream is the first in a 'safe cruise' pilot scheme announced by the Singapore Tourism Board last month to ensure the safe and gradual resumption of cruises amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A second cruise line, Royal Caribbean International, will join the scheme starting December 1.

Under the scheme, the cruises ships will make round trips to the city-state with no port of call in between. Capacity would be limited to 50 per cent and passengers must be Singapore residents. The programme aims at giving residents some outlet for their wanderlust amid the pandemic as well as to revive the tourism industry.

The tests began at 9 am at a testing facility set up at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore. It was designed to clear 125 passengers every 30 minute, The Straits Times reported.

Close to 1,700 guests who have joined Genting Cruise Lines' first voyage underwent antigen rapid tests at the cruise centre before boarding the World Dream vessel.

Any guest who fails health screening or the COVID-19 tests will be prohibited from checking in and continuing with the cruise, said Michael Goh, president of Dream Cruises.

Meanwhile, Singapore reported four new imported COVID-19 cases on Friday, the health ministry said, adding that there was no local case.

Singapore's coronavirus tally now stands at 58,047, out of which 57,949 have already recovered, it said.

As of Thursday, 40 patients were undergoing treatment at various hospitals, while 26 others were recuperating at isolated community facilities for mild symptoms.

The deadly virus has so far claimed 28 lives in the island nation. PTI GS SCY SCY

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