Coronavirus: Thousands held on cruise ship after COVID-19 scare

HONG KONG — A COVID-19 scare on a “cruise to nowhere” in the South China Sea resulted in more than 3,000 people being told to stay onboard to undergo testing.

>> Read more trending news

According to a statement from the Hong Kong government, nine people who were on board Royal Carribean’s Spectrum of the Sea were identified as being in contact with a positive COVID-19 patient, prompting officials to ask the cruise ship to return to port for testing of all people onboard. There were an estimated 2,500 passengers and 1,200 crew who were told to stay on the ship to be tested.

Royal Carribbean told CNN it was told of the exposures on Jan. 4, and immediately tested and isolated the passengers exposed, who all tested negative.

Hong Kong has been moving to fight the rapid spread of the omicron coronavirus variant, announcing on Wednesday a two-week ban on flights from the United States and seven other countries, The Associated Press reported. The ban also includes passenger flights from Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, The Philippines and Britain.

Hong Kong is also banning indoor dining after 6 p.m. on Friday, and closing swimming pools, bars, museums and other public venues for at least two weeks, Reuters reported.

More coronavirus pandemic coverage:

>> Coronavirus: How long between exposure to the virus and the start of symptoms?

>> What are your chances of coming into contact with someone who has COVID-19? This tool will tell you

>> How to not let coronavirus pandemic fatigue set in, battle back if it does