Cruise ship returns to HK early for Covid checks

Health officials will check passengers on a ‘cruise-to-nowhere’ after nine close contacts of a female Covid patient boarded a Spectrum of the Seas vessel on Sunday.

The ship had been due to return on Thursday, but came back on Wednesday morning.

The cruise company said there were about 2,500 passengers and 12-hundred staff members on board.

It comes as three overnight lockdowns yielded no new coronavirus cases.

The nine close contacts have so far tested preliminary negative while onboard the vessel.

The government said it would arrange testing for all passengers and staff when the ship arrives at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, and the nine close contacts will be sent to Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre.

Of the nine contacts, one is the boss of a 43-year-old domestic helper, who’s tested preliminary positive. She lives at Chesterfield Mansion in Causeway Bay, which was locked down overnight for testing, but no new cases were found.

Meanwhile, a lockdown of Causeway Tower has also been lifted after no new cases were found. That case involves a 48-year-old woman.

Both the 48-year-old and the domestic helper are linked to a Cathay employee, who breached isolation rules by staying in two places after returning from a flight.