Thousands of cruise passengers were blocked from disembarking their ship at a port town north of Rome on Thursday (Jan 30) over fears that a passenger on board may have contracted the coronavirus, the New York Times is reporting.
The Costa Smeralda was in Civitavecchia, Italy, when passengers were told they could not disembark their ship after a woman from Hong Kong sailing on board came down with a fever and was experiencing respiratory problems, reports say.
The Italian news agency ANSA reports that about 6,000 people were aboard the ship at the time (the Costa Smeralda can accommodate as many as 6,522 guests and 1,678 crew members).
The ship docked in Civitavecchia Thursday morning after arriving from the Spanish port of Palma de Majorca.
It had been operating a seven-day cruise in the Western Mediterranean that included stops in Italy, France and Spain.
Reports say the ill passenger and her husband are currently being held in isolation in a hospital ward on board the ship.
The husband is believed to not have any symptoms.
To date, the coronavirus has impacted more than 7,700 people in Mainland china and has killed at least 170.
The virus was first discovered in a seafood and poultry market in Wuhan, China, last month.
Most who have contracted it are in mainland China but there have been at least 68 cases of coronavirus reported outside of the country.
“The guest, a 54-year-old lady of Chinese nationality, is currently put on isolation on the onboard hospital since last night together with her travel mate, in line with health protocols,” the cruise line said in a statement Thursday, as reported by the New York Times. “As soon as the suspected case was detected, the medical team on board immediately activated all the relevant health procedures to promptly isolate and manage the clinical condition.”
Reports say health authorities have been called and are currently on board the Costa Smeralda, evaluating the situation.
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