Coronavirus: MPA debunks singer Ronan Keating's claim that ships were turned away due to outbreak

A screenshot of Maritime Port Authority's Instagram post on March 3, 2020, debunks Irish singer Ronan Keating's claim that ships near Singapore were not allowed to dock because of the coronavirus. PHOTO: MARITIME_SG / INSTAGRAM

SINGAPORE - The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has debunked claims by Irish singer Ronan Keating, clarifying that no cargo ships have been turned away from the Republic's port due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The authority said on Monday (March 2) on Instagram that no cargo vessels have been turned away due to the coronavirus. Instead, ships arrive or leave Singapore every 2-3 minutes and there can be about 1,000 ships at the port at any one time.

MPA also added that it has taken enhanced precautions and that it is "working round-the-clock to ensure that it is business as usual".

"#WeCouldntSayNothingAtAll," MPA added in its post, referring to Keating's hit song When You Say Nothing At All.

Keating, who shot to prominence in the 1990s as a member of boyband Boyzone and has more than 330,000 followers on Instagram, shared on Instagram on Sunday a photo of Singapore's port, showing about two dozen ships which he claimed were being held and unable to dock due to the virus.

The post got more than 7,000 likes and has since been removed.

Keating on Saturday performed at an event in Jakarta, Indonesia, but it is unclear if he was in Singapore.

Netizens praised MPA's response, which had nearly 100 comments on Tuesday evening, with some saying that Keating should have checked his facts before he posted anything.

Another Instagram user, with the handle @clareteo, said: "It's ok to make mistakes, we all do at times. But it's not cool to just delete the post. A simple 'sorry' would be nice. However, I think we Singaporeans should be cool and magnanimous."

As of Tuesday evening, Singapore had 108 confirmed cases. Seventy-eight patients have also fully recovered.

The latest two cases confirmed on Monday was a 34-year-old Filipina, the foreign domestic worker of a man linked to Wizlearn Technologies in Science Park II - a cluster that emerged last Friday.

The other case is a 68-year-old Singaporean woman, linked to a family member of the Raffles Institution student who was announced as a confirmed case on Feb 27.

From Wednesday, travellers who had been to South Korea, northern Italy and Iran within the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore, as the Republic ramps up its fight against the spread of the coronavirus.

Singaporeans, residents and long-term pass holders who had been to these coronavirus hit areas in the last 14 days will be allowed in, but will be issued a stay-home notice. This means they must remain in their place of residence at all times for that duration.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.