Thousands of passengers held on cruise ship after Omicron outbreak fears

A luxury cruise trip in Hong Kong was cut short after nine passengers were linked to a recent coronavirus outbreak.

Thousands of passengers were held on board this morning while awaiting test results due to fears of the spread of the Omicron variant.

A Government statement said authorities made the Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas ship, which started a trip on a ‘cruise to nowhere’ on Saturday, to return a day early.

Nine passengers were identified as close contacts of an infected patient from a new Omicron cluster.

Royal Caribbean said in a statement that the linked guests were immediately isolated and had all tested negative.

The company added it was working closely with authorities to follow Covid-19 prevention policies and regulations.

It comes as the authorities in Hong Kong have locked down several buildings linked to Omicron outbreaks to prevent the spread of coronavirus across the city.

The clusters emerged after several crew members from the Cathay Pacific airline broke isolation rules and went to restaurants and bars, before testing positive for the Omicron variant.

Royal Caribbean said guests who were on board the affected ship would receive a 25% refund on their fare.

The ship’s next trip tomorrow was also cancelled, as the crew has to undergo further testing. Those guests will receive a full refund.

Hong Kong has also banned flights from the UK and seven other countries amid the coronavirus scare.

There is a block on flights from Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Philippines, France and India for two weeks from Saturday.

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