COVID-19: Singapore may use 2 cruise ships to house healthy foreign workers

·Editorial Team
·2-min read
The SuperStar Aquarius cruise ship, seen here arriving in Taiwan on 8 February, may be "activated for assessment at a later date”, said STB. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
The SuperStar Aquarius cruise ship, seen here arriving in Taiwan on 8 February, may be "activated for assessment at a later date”, said STB. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Two mid-sized cruise ships will be assessed by the Singapore government for their feasibility as temporary accommodations for foreign workers who have recovered from COVID-19 or have tested negative for the coronavirus.

If deemed feasible, the SuperStar Gemini and SuperStar Aquarius may be used to complement other facilities – such as military camps and vacant HDB blocks – that are being used for similar purposes, said the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in a media release on Friday (17 April).

“This is to further manage COVID-19 transmissions and to allow health measures to be implemented more effectively in existing dormitories by reducing the number of workers there,” said STB.

The statutory board said that cruise ships are being considered as they have available rooms and en suite toilets to minimise person-to-person contact

“If deemed suitable, both ships may accommodate up to 2,000 foreign workers and will be activated only if there is a need to supplement other temporary accommodation facilities,” said STB.

“If activated, every effort will be made to uphold the health, welfare and security of foreign workers on board the ship, where they will be expected to observe the highest standards of safe distancing at all times,” it added.

Workers aboard the ships will also have scheduled outdoor time and will be provided with SIM cars and wi-fi broadband internet connections.

STB said that the SuperStar Gemini had arrived in Singapore from Hong Kong on Friday, and is currently berthed at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore, where it will undergo a thorough assessment.

This will be done with the support of the ship’s operator, Genting Cruise Lines, and will take into consideration factors such as the ship’s ventilation systems, security protocols and infection control measures.

“It will only be used to house foreign workers if it passes the assessment,” said STB. It added that the SuperStar Aquarius “may be activated for assessment at a later date”.

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