CORONAVIRUS fears have sparked on a cruise ship after two holidaymakers fell ill, leaving around 7,000 passengers and crew trapped on the vessel in an Italian port.
A husband and wife, reportedly from Hong Kong, have been put in isolation on the Costa Smerelda, which might have Britons on board, after the couple came down with a fever and breathing problems.
The vessel is currently being held at the Port of Civitavecchia, 35 miles north of Rome after a 54-year-old woman came down with a fever and went to the ship’s hospital. She is thought to have boarded the ship on January 25, in the port of Savona with her partner, who showed no symptoms and was isolated as a precaution.
The couple have been placed in solitary confinement as doctors from Italy’s National Institute for Infectious Diseases examined them to find out if they have the coronavirus, which has killed at least 170 people in China and infected thousands of others. Test results are due this afternoon but local Italian newspaper, Corriere Della Sera, reported that the first results of tests carried out were ‘reassuring’ and would seem to ‘exclude the presence of the disease’. Pictures emerged of tired-looking passenger’s onboard, crowded into corridors waiting for further announcements. An unnamed passenger told ANSA news agency that the couple’s cabin had been ‘isolated’ and they were ‘in with doctors’.