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Singapore launches its first ‘cruise to nowhere’

SINGAPORE: Hit by cabin fever, hundreds of Singapore residents itching to get out of the tiny country boarded a “cruise to nowhere” on Friday, a rare chance to sail the seas after the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the cruise industry.

Before starting their short “seacation” on the 335-metre (1,100 ft) World Dream, passengers underwent coronavirus swab tests before boarding the vessel, which was operating at half capacity to prevent crowding.

Retiree Ang Sen Hock, 73, said he had no fear about getting infected and had booked several more trips later in the month.

“Not worried. Because earlier this year I was also a passenger on this cruise ship and, coincidentally, there were two suspected cases,” Ang said, while waiting for his test.

“But we still boarded and they had special measures.”

The global cruise industry has taken a major hit from the coronavirus pandemic, with some of the earliest big outbreaks found on cruises.

Singapore’s special cruises, classed as “round trips”, are open only to its residents and sail for a few days in waters just off the city-state.

They follow “flights to nowhere” in some parts of Asia that take off and land at the same airport.

Read More: Virus-hit Carnival cruise ship docks in Australia

The 1,400 guests are required to carry an electronic contact tracing device and to the social distance at all times.

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