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Cruise ship heads to Singapore after rebuff by Malaysia, Thailand over virus fears

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Those who are identified for testing but refuse to do so will be disallowed entry into Singapore.

CRUISE ship Costa Fortuna is making a scheduled stop at Singapore on March 10, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) jointly announced on Monday.

Costa Fortuna is homeported - or permanently based - in Singapore. The ship had departed Singapore on March 3.

On Monday, Italian cruise line Costa Crociere - the ship's operator said in a Reuter's report that it was heading to Singapore to end its journey on Tuesday as planned after being turned away from ports in Malaysia and Thailand over novel coronavirus fears.

Costa Crociere said there were no suspected virus cases among its guests, which include Italians. Italy has the largest number of cases of the virus outside China with 7,375 infections.

According to MPA and STB's statement, all of the ship's passengers had earlier embarked from Singapore and completed pre-embarkation checks based on prevailing policies for travel history and temperature screening as required by the cruise line and terminal operator before boarding.

The ship also declared on its Maritime Declaration of Health that none of its passengers currently onboard show symptoms of fever, or have other symptoms of respiratory illness. In addition, the doctor on board the cruise ship will check on the passengers and crew in order to ensure that they are healthy prior to disembarkation.

All passengers entering Singapore will also be required to undergo temperature screening as part of precaution measures.

Passengers entering Singapore and exhibiting fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness but do not meet the Singapore Ministry of Health's clinical case definition may need to undergo a Covid-19 swab test. 

Those who are identified for testing but refuse to do so will be disallowed entry into Singapore, the statement added.

MPA and STB said unscheduled calls have been disallowed in Singapore since Feb 24. Singapore's cruise terminals remain open to scheduled cruise calls out of Singapore.

In the Reuter's report, Costa Crociere said it would cancel a cruise due to depart on March 10 from Singapore.

THE BUSINESS TIMES, REUTERS