COVID-19: More than 600 passengers disembark from Costa Fortuna cruise ship in Singapore

Passengers from the Costa Fortuna cruise ship seen with their luggage as they wait to board buses at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre on 10 March 2020. (PHOTO: AP)

SINGAPORE — As of noon on Tuesday (10 March), more than 600 passengers have disembarked from the cruise ship Costa Fortuna in Singapore, according to local authorities.

Many of these passengers have been bussed directly to the airport for their onward flights or to their hotels, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

Almost all foreign passengers will depart Singapore within the next two days.

“Costa Fortuna has informed that all passengers and crew are well and had been checked by the ship doctor,” said the three agencies, noting that the ship declared that none of its passengers and crew on board are febrile or have exhibited other symptoms of respiratory illness.

The ship was hence allowed to berth at 8am on Tuesday as scheduled. The agencies noted that making a false declaration on a Maritime Declaration of Health carries a penalty of up to six months’ jail.

Upon disembarkation, passengers were further subjected to thermal and visual screenings by MOH-licensed healthcare providers. All those with recent travel history to affected regions within the last 14 days completed enhanced one-on-one screening by doctors licensed by the MOH, and have been certified fit to travel.

These passengers will stay onboard the ship and will be sent directly to the airport for their onward flights.

The Costa Fortuna was carrying some 2,000 passengers, including dozens of Italians. As of Tuesday afternoon, Italy has reported 9,172 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 463 deaths from the outbreak - the second highest in the world after mainland China. Italy has announced a lockdown across the country, in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Last Friday, the cruise ship was turned away from Phuket as Thai authorities had imposed restrictions “on Italians that have transited in Italy in the last 14 days”, said Costa Cruises on Twitter.

The following day, it was also refused entry to Penang, as Malaysia had restricted entry of all cruise ships to the country's ports, according to media reports.

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